Citywide

HOME-SF

HOME-SF is San Francisco's local density bonus program. It's designed to incentivize building more affordable and family-friendly housing in neighborhood commercial and transit corridors through zoning modifications.

How it Works

HOME-SF is an optional program for developers constructing mixed-income in certain areas of San Francisco. Under HOME-SF, 20 to 30 percent of the units in a new housing project must be affordable to low, middle and moderate-income families. To provide more family friendly housing, 40 percent of the total units in the building must be two bedrooms or larger (with an additional option of providing 50% of all bedrooms in the project in units with 2 or more bedrooms). In return, density bonuses and zoning modifications are provided, allowing project sponsors to accommodate additional affordable units.

In July 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed a pilot program creating the following tiers for HOME-SF:

 

Zoning modifications awarded

Additional height awarded above existing height limit

On-site affordability requirement

Tier 1

Relief from density limit
7 predetermined zoning modifications

No additional height

20-23 %

Tier 2

1 story

25%

Tier 3

2 stories

30%

The Planning Department projects HOME-SF could result in up to 5,000 new affordable units over the next 20 years.

What is a Density Bonus?

A density bonus is an increase in the overall number of housing units that a developer may build on a site in exchange for including more affordable housing units in the project. Under HOME-SF, the maximum bonus for a project is an additional two stories and relief from density controls.

To be eligible for the HOME-SF program, each project:

  • Must not demolish any residential units
  • Will consist of new construction only and will not propose additions to existing buildings
  • Must provide three or more dwelling units
  • Must not demolish or significantly alter a historic resource

HOME-SF is not applicable in the RH-1 or RH-2 Zoning Districts, and is restricted in a number of other areas. See the application and information packet for detailed eligibility criteria. If your project does not qualify for HOME-SF, it may still qualify for the State Analyzed or State Individually Requested Density Bonus Programs.

HOME-SF projects require an entitlement called “HOME-SF Project Authorization” pursuant to Section 328 of the Planning Code. A HOME-SF Project Authorization entitlement requires a Planning Commission hearing within 120 days of submission of a complete HOME-SF application . Public comment is welcomed at every Planning Commission hearing.

Staff will complete a design review for every project that chooses to participate in the HOME-SF program. This review will include the various dimensions, including height, setbacks, and other standard design considerations to ensure the completed project respects the surrounding context and keeps with the character of the neighborhood and commercial corridors.

For additional information on the application and the process, please view:

 

Small Businesses

HOME-SF requires project sponsors to provide at least 18 months advance notice of a proposed project to any existing commercial tenants on the site. HOME-SF also requires that any potentially displaced commercial tenants be connected with the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), which offers relocation assistance and support.

What are HOME-SF's affordability requirements?

Project sponsors that choose HOME-SF are required to offer 30% of units in their housing project at prices or rents affordable to low, middle and moderate-income families. Individuals and families can qualify for these units based on their income, measured in percent of Area Median Income (AMI). Currently, the affordable units are required to be affordable to the following income categories:

Rental Projects

 

Tier 1 (<25 units)

Tier 1 (25+ units)

Tier 2

Tier 3

55% AMI

10%

10%

10%

10%

80% AMI

5%

8%

8%

10%

110% AMI

5%

5%

7%

10%

 

Ownership Projects

 

Tier 1 (<25 units)

Tier 1 (25+ units)

Tier 2

Tier 3

80% AMI

10%

10%

10%

10%

105% AMI

5%

8%

8%

10%

130% AMI

5%

5%

7%

10%

What is Area Median Income (AMI)?

The current (2018) AMI in San Francisco for a family of four is $118,400.

Half of all households in San Francisco earn less than this AMI and the other half of households earn more. AMI is set each year by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and is based on household size and the income households earn in the area. The City uses these annually published income limits to inform its various housing programs.

The total of all salaries earned by all people living in the same home equals the household's total annual income.

See the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development for more information about who qualifies for affordable housing.

Who qualifies for affordable units in HOME-SF projects?

Eligibility for affordable units is determined by a household's a) size (number of people in the household) and b) income (amount of income earned by all members of the household).

Below is a sample table of income ranges that would qualify households of various sizes for affordable units in HOME-SF projects. Please see the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development for more detailed information on the BMR rental and ownership programs.

Household Size Income range to qualify for
rental unit
Income range to qualify for
ownership unit
1 $45,600 - $91,200 $66,300 - $107,750
2 $52,100 - $104,150 $75,750 - $123,100
3 $58,600 - $117,200 $85,250 - $138,500
4 $65,100 - $130,250 $94,700 - $153,900

Note: Above figures are approximate, based on data available as of September 2018. Income qualification will be determined by MOHCD.

How much will the affordable units in HOME-SF projects be sold or rented for?

Units will be priced according to size (number of bedrooms) and the income level of the household that will be occupying the unit.

Below is a sample table of potential rents and sales prices for affordable units in HOME-SF projects. Please see the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development for more detailed information on the BMR rental and ownership programs.

Unit Size Range of rents Range of prices
Studio $1,090 - $2,230 $220,900 - $429,700
1 BR $1,360 - $2,540 $264,400 - $503,000
2 BR $1,510 - $2,850 $299,100 - $567,500
3 BR $1,670 - $3,150 $340,700 - $639,000

Note: Above figures are approximate, based on data available as of September 2018. Rents and sales prices will be determined by MOHCD.

 

Links To Relevant State Legislation and San Francisco Planning Code Sections

State Density Bonus Law
HOME-SF (Section 206.3)
Analyzed State Density Bonus Program (Section 206.5)
Individually Requested State Density Bonus Program (Section 206.6)

Case reports, Ordinance, Motions, Resolutions and Public Hearings by publication date – for those following closely.

Date

Legislation/Resolutions/Motions
and Staff Case Reports

Presentation Materials
and Video

February 14, 2017 Draft HOME-SF Program Legislation  
March 13, 2017 March 13th Draft HOME-SF Program Legislation

Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee
Amendments made:

  1. Income levels served adjusted as follows:
    Rental BMR units offered at:
    55% AMI
    80% AMI
    110% AMI
    Ownership BMR units offered at:
    90% AMI
    120% AMI
    140% AMI
  2. Family-friendly amenities:
    Encourages the inclusion of 3+ bedroom units
  3. Enhances protections and options for existing commercial tenants
Link to SFGTV video on demand
May 8, 2017 May 8th Draft HOME-SF Program Legislation

Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee
Amendments made:

  1. Fillmore and Divisadero NCT districts removed from the program
  2. Formula retail prohibited on any HOME-SF project that replaces a non-formula retail business
  3. Clarifies that all regulations in section 415 (Inclusionary Housing) of the Planning Code apply to HOME-SF units except:
    • Percentage requirement
      (HOME-SF is higher – 30% on-site)
    • That the qualifying income levels for the below-market-rate units available through the program are independently set
      10% at 90% of Area Median Income; 
      10% at 120% of Area Median Income; and
      10% at 140% of Area Median.  
      Rental units are set at
      10% at 55% of Area Median Income;
      10% at 80% of Area Median Income; and
      10% shall have an average affordable rent set at 110% Area Median Income. 
    • That the unit mix requirement shall be either
      (A) a minimum unit mix of at least 40% of all units as two bedroom units or larger; or
      (B) any unit mix which includes some three bedroom or larger units such that 50% of all bedrooms within the Local HOME-SF Project are provided in units with more than one bedroom.
Link to SFGTV video on demand
May 16, 2017 May 16th Draft HOME-SF Program Legislation

Full Board of Supervisors
Amendments made:

  1. Conforms State Analyzed hybrid program to contain same programmatic details as HOME-SF, with the exception of three requirements under state law (allows for up to 35% density bonus; different income level requirements; and affordability lasting up to 55 years)
  2. Removes Northeast quadrant area north of Polk Street and east of Van Ness Avenue, with exception of soft sites (defined as lots 12,500 square feet or more with existing structures that cover less than 20% of the zoned capacity), gas stations, parking lots, and banks – unless historic or eligible for historic registry/preservation.
  3. Clarifies that formula retail prohibition on ground floor does not apply to sites with existing fringe financial, self-storage, motel, automobile sales/rental, gas station, car wash, mortuaries, adult entertainment, massage, medical cannabis dispensary, and tobacco shop uses.
Link to SFGTV video on demand
May 23, 2017 May 23rd HOME-SF Program Legislation

Full Board of Supervisors
Amendments made:

  1. Affordability of ownership units revised to 80%/105%/130% of AMI to match Inclusionary Ordinance proposal
  2. Changes the distribution of HOME-SF units to
    12% at the lowest income tier
    9% at the middle tier
    9% at the highest income tier
  3. Specifies that HOME-SF would apply in District 9 until the Board of Supervisors directs the Planning Department to study the creation of an Area Plan in the District

The legislation, as amended, was passed with a vote of 10-1.

Link to SFGTV video on demand
June 6, 2017 Final Adopted HOME-SF Legislation (large file size)

Full Board of Supervisors

The legislation was passed on second read with a unanimous vote of 110.

Link to SFGTV video on demand

May 1, 2018

HOME-SF 2.0 Legislation
Supervisors Tang and Safai introduce legislation to amend HOME-SF as follows:

  1. Projects seeking to use HOME-SF would be able to choose from the following three options:

    Tier 1 – Relief from density controls but no extra height – 20% affordable 10% of units at 55% of AMI (rental) or 80% of AMI (owner) 5% of units at 80% of AMI (rental) or 105% of AMI (owner) 5% of units at 110% of AMI (rental) or 130% of AMI (owner)

    Tier 2 – Relief from density controls and one extra story of height – 25% affordable 10% of units at 55% of AMI (rental) or 80% of AMI (owner) 8% of units at 80% of AMI (rental) or 105% of AMI (owner) 7% of units at 110% of AMI (rental) or 130% of AMI (owner)

    Tier 3 – Relief from density controls and two extra stories of height – 30% affordable 10% of units at 55% of AMI (rental) or 80% of AMI (owner) 10% of units at 80% of AMI (rental) or 105% of AMI (owner) 10% of units at 110% of AMI (rental) or 130% of AMI (owner)


Projects submitting Environmental Evaluation applications before December 31, 2019 would be eligible to be considered for approval based on the above tiers. After that date, the tiers would sunset and the affordability requirements for HOME-SF would return to the current structure.

  1. HOME-SF projects would seek entitlement through the process provided for in Section 328 instead of Conditional Use (Section 303). Section 328, which currently establishes the process for the 100% Affordable Housing Bonus Program Project Authorization, is similar to a Large Project Authorization (Sec. 329). Section 328 requires approval by the Planning Commission at a public hearing and allows the Commission to grant certain modifications. The Planning Commission’s decision would be appealable to the Board of Appeals rather than the Board of Supervisors. Section 328 would require HOME-SF projects be approved, approved with conditions, or disapproved by the Planning Commission within 120 days of receipt of a complete HOME-SF application.

 

June 28, 2018

Planning Department Case Report
The Planning Department recommended the following amendments:

  1. Amend Section 206.3(d)(4) to allow HOME-SF projects to receive any of the zoning modifications listed, rather than only allowing three.
  2. Amend Section 206.3(f)(2)(A) to modify the proposed Tier 1 as follows:
    • If a Tier 1 HOME-SF project consists of 24 units or fewer, require 20% on-site affordable HOME-SF units at the proposed affordability levels
    • If a Tier 1 HOME-SF project consists of 25 units or more, require 23% on-site affordable HOME-SF units at the following affordability levels: i. 10% at 55% AMI (rental) or 80% AMI (owner) ii. 8% at 80% AMI (rental) or 105% AMI (owner) iii. 5% at 110% AMI (rental) or 130% AMI (owner)
  3. Amend Section 206.3(f)(2) language to set the prescribed AMI levels as maximums, allowing HOME-SF project sponsors to provide HOME-SF units at deeper affordability levels.
  4. Amend language in Section 328 to require HOME-SF projects receive a Planning Commission hearing withi 180 days of completion of environmental review.
  5. Amend language to include a “use it or lose it” provision, requiring HOME-SF projects to file a Building Permit Application within 2 years of entitlement.

Link to SFGTV video on demand

July 9, 2018

July 9th HOME-SF 2.0 Legislation with amendments
The legislation was amended to incorporate Planning Department recommendations 1, 2 and 4 above.
The legislation as amended was sent to the full Board of Supervisors with a positive recommendation, and with the following amendments:

 

Link to SFGTV video on demand

July 17, 2018

July 17th HOME-SF 2.0 Legislation with amendments
The legislation was amended to include a use it or lose it provision, requiring HOME-SF projects to receive a site or building permit within 36 months of receiving entitlements.
The legislation as amended was passed on first reading.

Link to SFGTV video on demand

July 31, 2018

Final HOME-SF 2.0 Legislation
The legislation was passed on second reading.

Link to SFGTV video on demand

Who will qualify to live in the affordable housing produced by this program?

HOME-SF will create homes for very low, low, moderate, and middle-income households. The chart above illustrates how these terms are defined and what professions tend to fall into each category. 

Area = A particular geographical area, e.g., San Francisco
Median = Middle point: half of the households earn below the median while the other half earn above
Income = Total income of the entire household

  • Very-low income households: Earn up to 55 percent of the Area Median Income in San Francisco
  • Low-income households: Earn up to 80 percent  of the Area Median Income in San Francisco
  • Moderate-income households: Earn up to 120 percent of the Area Median Income in San Francisco
  • Middle-income households: Earn up to 140 percent of the Area Median Income in San Francisco

Half of the households in San Francisco earn below the AMI while the other half of households earn above the City's AMI. AMI is set each year by HUD and is based on household size and the income households earn in the area. The City uses these annually published income limits to inform its various housing programs.

The total of all salaries earned by all people living in the same home equals the household's total annual income. Based on the 2010 American Community Survey (also known as the U.S. Census), the typical San Francisco household has approximately 2.4 people.

See the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development for more information about who qualifies for affordable housing.

 

Click on image to enlarge.Who is Affordable Housing for Chart

What will HOME-SF developments look like?

In keeping with the character of the neighborhood areas and commercial corridors, HOME-SF residential developments will be required to place a strong emphasis on ground floor retail (also known as mixed-use buildings). In addition, the HOME-SF team will develop specific design guidelines that require proposed projects to include elements such as:

  • Commercial spaces with active ground floor uses
  • Transparent and operable windows, awnings, and informational displays
  • Attention to design detail, including variation in material use

Click here for an overview of the existing San Francisco Planning design review process.

The following photos are examples of mixed use-buildings.

banner

What is the design review process for HOME-SF developments?

Staff will complete a design review for all projects that elect to participate in HOME-SF.  This review will include the various dimensions of proposed projects, including height, relevant setbacks, and other standard design considerations.  Projects will be required to apply design solutions, such as:

  • Planting living walls or vines on property line walls
  • Window detailing
  • Varying the building façade materials and depth from the sidewalk
  • Providing an active ground floor

These design elements, among others, will ensure developments blend with adjoining buildings to ensure consistency with neighborhood character.

Will HOME-SF developments need to pay development impact fees?

Yes. The City imposes impact fees on development projects in order to mitigate the impacts caused by new development on public services, infrastructure, and facilities. For example, new residential and commercial projects pay impact fees to offset burdens placed on transit systems and sidewalks. Some impact fees apply to various types of development projects throughout the City, while others apply only in certain neighborhoods. 

Learn more about the City's Development Impact Fees.

What other City programs encourage affordable housing?

San Francisco has several other programs designed to create new affordable housing, protect the existing housing supply, and encourage higher levels of affordable housing through development incentives, such as:

Other programs include:

See the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure, and the San Francisco Housing Authority for more information and a complete listing of all programs.