Anti-Displacement Acquisition & Rehab: Small Sites

The featured image depicts Mission resident Elizabeth Bell, whose building was acquired by MEDA with financing by the Housing Accelerator Fund. (The featured image is courtesy of Christie Hemm Klok and originally appeared in High Country News, “The housing policy that’s turning back gentrification.”)


San Francisco is losing a key piece of its existing affordable housing stock: rent-stabilized housing. Many apartments with below-market rents are in small, multifamily buildings of 5-25 units, all built before 1979. In the past, as soon as a rent-stabilized building posted for sale, speculative buyers swooped in, snapping it up with the intent of moving out long-term tenants and dramatically increasing rents, a common practice enabled by state “vacancy decontrol” laws. Affordable housers struggled to line up the quick money necessary to compete in the marketplace. Though valiant efforts are underway to replace formerly affordable apartments lost to market-rate conversions with newly constructed affordable homes, it is a slow and costly process. 


One of the City’s key housing strategies is to support the purchase of small buildings and transition them to permanently affordable housing, an approach known as “preservation.” The key to success for preservation is simple: work fast and create flexible solutions. Nonprofit developers need quick access to capital to beat out speculative buyers. They gain that capital through HAF’s bridge loans, made in partnership with the public sector.  And HAF goes further by providing acquisition and rehabilitation funding in a “one-stop-shop” transaction that allows people to stay in their homes. HAF’s public-private partnership also creates a multiplier effect: as our public partner repays our loans, we revolve our funds to support as many acquisitions as possible. 


Through preservation, vulnerable residents are not only permanently protected from economic eviction, but their homes are made better and safer. We have protected over 150 homes through this type of financing, serving over 380 residents. Learn more here.