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From the Affordable HomeOwnership Alliance

May 29, 2001

Followup or questions to Adria Pulizzano 415-861-0777

SF’s HomeOwnership Policies Disproportionately Hurt Minorities and Immigrants

“San Francisco’s policy of limiting homeownership opportunities adversely and disproportionately affects minorities and recent immigrants who have not yet established their economic base”, charged Sarosh Kumana, President of the Affordable HomeOwnership Alliance (AHA), a non-partisan homeownership advocacy group. AHA is committed to increase SF’s homeownership rate, currently 34%, up to the national average of 68% by the year 2010.

“The lack of a coherent, inclusive and effective homeownership policy has resulted in San Francisco having the lowest homeownership rate of any US city of comparable size”, he said. “While I would not go so far as to characterize SF’s homeownership policy as deliberately racist and exclusionary, recent immigrants and ethnic minorities have been disproportionately prevented from achieving the American dream of homeownership in San Francisco.“

A Chamber of Commerce poll, released May 10, 2001 found that the greatest problem facing San Francisco residents was the lack of affordable ownership housing.

“The McGoldrick legislation, to be discussed by the Board on May 29, 2001 only permits 200-400 tenants to become homeowners every year. That is a droplet, and we need a flood. At these rates, it would take 500 years for even half of SF tenants to become homeowners. Most people can’t wait that long,” Kumana quipped. “Bring down the Berlin Wall against homeownership, so all San Franciscans can enjoy the emotional security and financial empowerment of homeownership.”

Kumana challenged city policymakers to enact legislation removing archaic barriers against widespread property ownership, and thereby permit tens of thousands of San Franciscans to achieve their aspiration of affordable homeownership by allowing all tenants to buy the apartments they live in.

“Residents are being forced to leave the City when they seek homeownership”, he said. “Preventing homeownership disempowers immigrants who came to our country full of hope to accomplish the American dream of homeownership. It is a cruel hoax to call San Francisco a city of refuge, and then condemn those who come here to a life of perpetual rent-slavery.”

“Far be it from me to accuse San Francisco of anti-homeownership policies, historically perpetrated by closet elitists and racists, but it’s hard to ignore the facts,” he said.


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