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Subsidized housing redevelopment/renovation

Subsidized housing, both publicly and privately owned, is sometimes located in close proximity to new transit. These sites may present an opportunity site for densification, inclusion of mixed-uses, and the retention of existing affordable housing. While no longer an active federal program, Hope VI projects are one example of subsidized housing redevelopment. Many local governments and housing authorities are preparing to renovate or redevelop their affordable housing assets and can do so with transit-oriented design in mind. Cities that have public housing redevelopment programs should also consider prioritizing redevelopment of complexes in close proximity of transit.

Improving these assets can increase surrounding property values and spur other redevelopment projects in the station area. This potential catalyst for new development may generate enough private sector momentum that private development activity can be leveraged to add even more affordable housing in the station area.

Case Studies

San Francisco, CA

Hunters View Housing Project

In 2005, San Francisco's public housing stock was in a severely distressed state, with over $267 million needed for repairs and renovation. The San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA) had relied on the federally funded HOPE VI program to finance the rebuilding of several public housing sites, but as the federal budget for HOPE VI dwindled, it had to seek other ways to address its affordable housing needs. Thus, in 2006, Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors authorized $95 million in local bond funding to launch HOPE SF, a program that aims to convert 8 public housing developments comprising 5,000 units in San Francisco into high-quality mixed-income communities. Early in 2010, infrastructure improvements and construction began at Hunters View, which will serve as the pilot site for HOPE SF.

Whereas a major criticism of the federal HOPE VI program was that public housing residents were often permanently displaced as a result of construction, HOPE SF aims to address this challenge in two ways. First, all HOPE SF projects will be developed in phases so that residents can move into vacant units in other parts of the development and remain on site to the greatest extent possible. In the first phase at Hunters View, 55 families and 2 businesses were relocated successfully on site. Additionally, HOPE SF plans to provide one-for-one replacement of public housing so that there is no net loss of affordable housing for low income families in the community. By 2016, HOPE SF plans to invest $450 million in mixed income communities in San Francisco.