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The S.F. AHBP Breakdown

San Francisco is notoriously short on housing, and affordable housing in particular. Challenges to create enough housing in the space-constrained market are only expected to grow as San Francisco's population adds more than 174,045 people by 2030. The Affordable Housing Bonus Program (AHBP) could allow more density and height to grow both affordable and market-rate housing in the city.

More Height


Projects that provide 30% or more units of affordable housing will be allowed to build two stories higher than current limitations as long as 12% is for low- and moderate-income households and 18% is for middle-income households. Buildings that are 100% affordable will be able to build up to three additional stories beyond current regulations. Many planned projects could benefit from this.

More Housing

San Francisco skyline

Although the changes would apply to about 30,500 parcels throughout San Francisco, about 240 parcels would benefit. These are underused sites, such as lots or old gas stations. In 2014, developers built 757 new affordable housing units. The AHBP could create 5,000 new affordable units in the next 20 years. In total, about 16,000 new units of housing could be built across the city under the plan.

Limits To Protect Existing Housing

From Kerwin Berk

Supervisor London Breed introduced an amendment to prevent demolishing existing affordable housing units for new construction under the AHBP. Buildings with one or more rent-controlled units will not qualify for this program.

The State Program

California's state AHBP
credit: San Francisco Planning Department

Under California's State AHBP, projects must have 12% affordable units for low- and moderate-income housing and up to 8% additional units for very-low, low or moderate income. Projects fulfilling this requirement will be given a density bonus and able to grow up to two stories above existing limits to achieve that density. Here's a comparison with the local AHBP.

Next Steps


The San Francisco Planning Department could decide on the AHBP (which had some opposition) at its public hearing Thursday.