Small Sites Program

What is the Small Sites Program?

Small Sites is a program from the City of San Francisco. The aim is to acquire buildings where long-term, vulnerable tenants may be evicted. Tenants are evicted through the Ellis Act, an owner move-in or other means, so that the landlord can make more money from selling the building.

What properties can we buy as Small Sites?

  • The official City program guidelines are for four- to 25-unit buildings.
  • MEDA is looking in the Mission District and nearby, and can purchase buildings with commercial spaces.

Portfolio to date:
380 San Jose (4 units)
642 Guerrero (4 units)
344 Precita (4 units)
3840 Folsom (4 units)
1500 Cortland (4 units)
3329 20th (10 units)
3800 Mission (6 units)
269 Richland (6 units)
63 Lapidge (6 units)
3198 24th (13 units)
2217 Mission (9 units)
1015 Shotwell (10 units)
1411 Florida (6 units)
19 Precita (3 units)
35 Fair (4 units)

How does the Small Sites Program work?

  • MEDA can buy the properties and keep the current tenants, as long as the tenants are in good standing with the existing leases.
  • The average tenant’s income for the building needs to be under 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). For example, a three-person household must make under $73,350 in annual income.
  • Tenants are part of the purchase, so the tenants help ward off would-be speculators by showing that they will fight to stay. (“We are not going anywhere” signs in the windows and direct action during open houses.)
  • City program will provide a $250,000 subsidy per unit; that amount will be combined with a traditional mortgage loan to purchase the building.

For what are we looking in a possible Small Sites purchase?

  • Buildings about to go on the market or on the market right now.
  • Buildings with existing tenants, of which a number are low- to moderate-income households.
  • Buildings in the Mission or Mission adjacent.

What do tenants in possible Small Sites purchases need to do?

  • Tenants need to agree that the nonprofit(s) would be the new landlord(s).
  • Tenants must provide information about income.
  • Tenants Must give us inside knowledge about the condition of the building and the landlord history.
  • Tenants advocate with owner for the nonprofit offer to be considered instead of a speculator’s offer.

What we would love to make the Small Sites Program truly work?

  • Tenants who know their housing rights.
  • Tenants who are fighting to stay in the building.
  • To make the offer competitive, tenants might be part of the purchase.
  • Tenants advocate with MEDA afor more funds from City to purchase other buildings where tenants are at risk of eviction.

If you are a vulnerable tenant interested in having MEDA possibly buy your apartment’s property, please contact Dairo Romero at (415) 282-3334 ext. 103 (Spanish), dromero@medasf.org; or Johnny Oliver: 
(415) 282-3334 ext. 123 (English), joliver@medasf.org.

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