In 2014 Community Vision became a lender for the San Francisco Small Sites Program (SSP), an initiative of the City of San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) which preserves housing for low-income San Francisco residents. The loan program provides acquisition and rehabilitation financing to developers that supports the purchase and renovation of multi-family apartment buildings of four-25 units housing residents with an average Area Median Income (AMI) of 80%. This program was designed to protect residents who were susceptible to losing their homes due to evictions (mostly arising from the Ellis Act) or rising rents.
For the last two years, Community Vision has been a SSP Preferred Lender and partner, providing senior loan capital to borrowers in partnership with the City’s subordinate financing position.
“This program is highly impactful,” said Toby Lieberman, Community Vision’s senior loan manager. “The majority of existing residents are low-income and the SSP provides them with the opportunity to remain in their homes with affordable rents as their neighborhoods gentrify.”
To date, Community Vision has provided three loans to two community partners. In 2016 Chinatown Community Development Corporation (CCDC) received a $380,000 acquisition loan to purchase a six-unit apartment building on Green Street in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. CCDC used the funding to finance the acquisition and renovation of the property. The building is occupied by long-standing monolingual, multi-generational Chinese families averaging 40% of the AMI. Five of six of the families have had homes in the building for more than ten years, and one for more than 25. With a high rate of Ellis Act evictions in the neighborhood, the need for secure, permanently affordable housing is critical.
Also last year, Community Vision provided two $500,000 acquisition loans to the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) to purchase two separate four-unit properties in the Bernal Heights neighborhood. The properties, located in an area experiencing disproportionately escalating rents and few affordable housing options, are occupied by residents with AMIs at or below 50%. MEDA will ensure that the families living here continue to enjoy secure housing and long-term affordable rents.
“Community Vision’s commitment to community projects like this has opened many doors,” said Johnny Oliver, MEDA’s small sites program manager. “We’re thrilled that this program is helping keep low-income, long-time residents — who are vulnerable to eviction – in their homes.”