"This milestone marks the end of many months of hard work by the city and our many partners," said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
“These funds present a historic opportunity to add much-needed affordable housing and community-based services to neighborhoods across the city,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Image: Bloomberg

PHOENIX - Voter-approved bonds are providing loan money to support the creation of affordable rental homes for low-income and homeless families and seniors in San Francisco.

Nearly $11 million of loans will be made with funds from the city's voter-approved $350 million 2015 affordable housing general obligation bond measure, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced Friday.

The money is intended to jump-start the construction of more than 500 affordable housing units, the mayor said in a statement.

The new construction adds to the ongoing effort to achieve Lee's goal of constructing or rehabilitating 10,000 homes affordable to low-income San Franciscans by 2020.

"San Franciscans came together last fall to approve the largest affordable housing bond in our city's history," said Lee in the statement. "These funds present a historic opportunity to add much-needed affordable housing and community-based services to neighborhoods across the city. Together, the four selected projects will serve a wide range of San Franciscans – from seniors to families – and each will include homes for our homeless residents."

The selected projects are in the Mission, Excelsior, Forest Hill, and Tenderloin neighborhoods.

San Francisco and California more generally are facing what many have labeled a homelessness crisis, spurring action at both the state and local level.

In recent years, job growth in San Francisco and the Bay Area has far outpaced housing construction.

On the state level, Gov. Jerry Brown this month signed legislation to implement a $2 billion bond-financed program to combat homelessness.

The bonds that finance the program will be secured by revenue from the Proposition 63 surtax on incomes above $1 million.

Voters approved Prop. 63 in 2004. Revenue from the tax designated to fund programs to help people with mental health problems.

Cities and counties, including San Francisco, have made the homelessness issue a priority and have borrowed to support them.

"We are pleased with the high quality of the proposals that we received, and are thrilled to be at the stage of putting the 2015 affordable housing general obligation bond to work to build more than 500 new affordable homes in San Francisco," said Olson Lee, director of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development. "In addition to affordable housing for families, seniors and homeless households, these projects will add much-needed new community resources such as childcare and community centers, in the four neighborhoods where these homes are located."

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