Mayor London Breed Signs San Francisco Housing Element to Begin Ambitious Plan that will Allow 82,000 New Homes in Eight Years

The plan sets out goals and commitments by the City, which now must make legislative and process changes to support the creation of new housing
February 01, 2023

San Francisco, CA – Today Mayor London N. Breed signed San Francisco’s Housing Element, which sets out a plan for the City to create over 82,000 new homes in the next eight years. The Housing Element was approved by the Board of Supervisors at its meeting today, and now is being transmitted to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) for their final approval.

Last week, HCD sent a letter stating that San Francisco’s Housing Element, upon approval by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors, would be in compliance with state law. The Mayor has already directed staff to begin its work on implementation of the Housing Element, which will require passing legislation, implementing process reforms, and identifying a range of funding sources for affordable housing.

“The bold and ambitious plans laid out in this Housing Element set the path for what we need to do to make housing more affordable and our City more accessible to workers and families. Approving this Housing Element is just the first step. Now we need to do the work to remove the barriers that obstruct new homes from being built quickly across our entire city,” said Mayor London Breed.  “I’m thankful for all the work that went into this by City staff, our partnership with the State in working to get this finalized, and the Board of Supervisors for approving it. We need to bring that same focus and shared vision to the work ahead of passing reforms to our housing approval and permitting process, rezoning our city, and securing affordable housing funding. This is a major step for changing how we approve housing in San Francisco, but it’s only the first step.”

The approval of the Housing Element is a legislative act that California cities are required to take every eight years. It is a critical step in setting broad goals around how much housing, including affordable housing, that cities aim to build and how they plan to do it. In San Francisco, the Housing Element directs City leaders to create a streamlined approval process for housing, such as:

  • Rezoning well-resourced, westside neighborhoods to allow for increased density, particularly along transit corridors.
  • Increasing affordable housing production with a focus on well-resourced neighborhoods.

The 2022 Housing Element is San Francisco’s first housing plan centered on racial and social equity. It articulates the City’s commitment to recognizing housing as a right, increasing housing affordability for low-income households and communities of color, creating more small and mid-rise multifamily buildings across all neighborhoods, and connecting housing to neighborhood services like transportation, education, and economic opportunity.

"Throughout this process, we’ve engaged with communities across the City,” said Rich Hillis, Director of Planning. “Across the board, San Franciscans demanded real, meaningful solutions to our housing and affordability challenges, and the 2022 Housing Element is a detailed blueprint to address those challenges."

The 2022 Housing Element is the result of a multi-year, cooperative, public, and interagency planning process that began in 2019. The San Francisco Planning Department’s extensive, three-phase public outreach process included 23 focus groups with vulnerable populations co-hosted or co-facilitated by community-based organizations; more than 65 community hosted community conversations, listening sessions, and presentations; 11 in-language events in Cantonese; and four Planning Commission and two Historic Preservation Commission hearings.