Investing in Housing For Seniors

London Breed
5 min readDec 6, 2019

Housing is simply not affordable for many San Franciscans, and for seniors living on fixed incomes, affording rent can be especially challenging and stressful. In 2016, more than half of renters over 65 living in the San Francisco area experienced either moderate or severe housing cost burden, while individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) would have to pay about 150% of their SSI income to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment. When housing is so expensive, there’s often little left over to afford food, health care, transportation, and other necessities.

Mayor Breed with resident of affordable housing acquired through the Small Sites Program

We need to support seniors in San Francisco and make sure they can continue to live here. Nearly 30% of San Francisco residents will be 60 or older by 2030, and as our population ages, services for seniors will become increasingly important.

That’s why we have City programs to help seniors afford their rent, and why we’re working to build more housing throughout the city. It’s also why we created the Dignity Fund, so that we have a dedicated source of funding to support seniors and adults with disabilities so that they are able to live with dignity, independence, and good health in their homes and communities.

We have several ongoing and new senior rental subsidy programs as well as 2019 Proposition A, which voters recently approved, that will provide new funding for the creation of affordable senior housing. At the end of the day, we need to build more housing, and I’m committed to cutting the red tape that is getting in the way of our housing goals.

Mayor Breed with residents of Lady Shaw Senior Center in Chinatown

Housing Subsidies

The City budget for 2019–20 and 2020–21 includes $7 million in new funding for housing subsidies for seniors.

$2 million for a two-year pilot program to provide rental subsidies for about 150 low-income households of seniors and adults with disabilities. The Department of Disability and Aging Services is working to distribute the subsidies to people with the help of two organizations, Self-Help for the Elderly and the Q Foundation.

London Breed

45th Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco