Jim, just read your piece and it feels like we’re coming at this from a similar perspective. Not that you need me to link your words back to you, but just for reference in the response:

“How about lifting the ludicrous constraints the city puts on private developers over square footage and window size and minimum bike parking and historical aesthetics? Or if San Franciscans must fund Cadillac apartments for tens of thousands, why not at least do it where land and construction costs are cheaper? Such questions are neither answered nor asked.”

Nothing will get done until zoning is loosened. San Francisco’s housing crisis is 100% artificial because close in neighborhoods in what should be the core of the world’s most economically productive region are single and two family homes. This is unconscionable. As you also correctly allude to, SF is famous for leftys posturing about solving issues, but never addressing the underlying problems (an inability to easily add housing, which pushes up total project costs drastically.) Loosening up zoning doesn’t require any money, but the investment in time will reap incredible returns.

Housing on its own for the chronically homeless isn’t enough. This is where supportive services are needed. But SF gets the equation all wrong, its budget is a fever dream of progressive ideals that have consistently not worked in practice (I say this as a progressive). Demand-side subsidies, rent control, eviction protection, and limited net new housing might help those who already have homes, but does nothing for the hundreds of thousands who need affordable homes. This is the myopia of the situation, that demand-side protections actually exaggerate the crisis because those with rent control, for example, have no incentive to ever leave, and reduces housing supply. When nothing is added, this problem compounds.

Urbanist, Developer & Writer working to create more sustainable, equitable and people-oriented places.

Urbanist, Developer & Writer working to create more sustainable, equitable and people-oriented places.