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Surplus Property Update

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In May 2004 homeless people scored a victory by convincing the city’s Board of Supervisors to set aside 15 city-owned surplus properties for development into homes for people with extremely low income.

The victory was the result of a coalition effort that united homeless, Faith, Labor and community groups.

The Mayor Office on Housing (MOH) has identified 15 properties as surplus, to be developed for very low income under the surplus ordinance. The Surplus Property Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) was formed to look at these sites and make recommendations to MOH.

The Coalition on Homelessness (CoH) is working with the Land and Liberty Coalition (LLC), a group of different organizations representing the interest of the homeless people regarding the project. Three sites are of particular interest to LLC; 150 Otis Street, 155 and 165 Grove Street and Broadway @ Sansome, members of this group spent a day visiting all the sites and taking digital photographs for future use.

Coalition interns helped LLC to draft a Memorandum regarding the Grove Street site. The memo included information on mixed-mode models (the model the LLC is advocating in this case, one which would include arts and housing), nearby residential structures, the requirements of the Civic Center Historic District, and other city policies found in the Housing Element and General Plan.

The interns also researched the status on one of the potential barriers to the development of the Broadway/Sansome site for homeless housing. Legislation now codified as California Streets and Highways section 72. which requires that the proceeds of the sale of the site be used to pay for the Embarcadero construction. The LLC recently met with MOH staff to refer questions to the director Joel Lipsky, and to present its position on the Surplus Property Project. (Incidentally, Lipsky has since conceded that the legislation itself does not present a barrier to development on the Broadway/Sansome site.)

The LLC has requested a meeting with Supervisor Chris Daly. Specifically, the LLC plans to work with Daly, MOH, and other supervisors regarding what Lipsky says is still a barrier to the development of the Broadway/ Sansome site (apparently the Board counted the proceeds from the sale in its annual budget, and the LLC would like to see the Board relieve that constraint).

The LLC will meet to discuss specific plans in light of the meeting with MOH staff, and garner public support for the development of these sites—primarily Grove Street and Broadway/Sansome.

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Author: Street Sheet Editor

The STREET SHEET is the oldest continuously published street news paper in the United States. Organizationally, it is the public education and outreach tool of the Coalition on Homelessness. Every month, the STREET SHEET reaches 32,000 readers through over 200 homeless or low-income vendors. Our vendors are charged nothing for the papers they receive, and keep all money they earn through STREET SHEET distribution.

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