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San Francisco’s affordable housing for homeless costs $750,000 per unit

New Housing For Homeless In San Francisco

Depending on where you live in the country, your house probably costs less to build than affordable housing will cost in San Francisco.

According to the New York Times, San Francisco affordable housing cost around $750,000 to build per unit, for a two-bedroom apartment. The average costs of construction in San Francisco is 13 percent higher than in New York, 60 percent more expensive than Chicago, and 75 percent more than in Houston.

The high cost is attributed to of course the land, as well as the construction workers which earn about $90 an hour on average, and about a quarter of the cost go towards government fees, permits, and consulting companies.

And a good amount also goes towards attorney fees to deal with all the paperwork which can typically tie up property development for years.

The image above is of 1064 – 68 Mission St. in San Francisco. Here are the details of that project:

  • 258 units (studios)
    • 156 units for chronic homeless people
    • 100 units for homeless seniors
    • 2 manager units
  • $160M to build
    • $144M development
    • $0 land (city owned and donated, $36M value)
    • $16M for service center
  • $625K per unit ($760K w/land)
  • 5 years (press release to keys)

This is a beautiful building. But San Francisco has over 5,180 unsheltered homeless, according to a 2019 count. San Francisco will need at least 20 more buildings just as big to handle their homeless population – that is if it hasn’t grown in the past 2 years since the count.

Citizens Again will cost substantially less and will be built to safely accommodate much larger populations with more services, at a lower cost.

By building outside the urban core, and by building a single location, Citizens Again can utilize economies of scale to bring down the overall costs. From the early conceptual estimates, it’s believed the entire City – which will have a capacity of up to 150,000 population – will cost a total of $3 billion. That breaks down to approximately $60,000 per unit (about 50,000 total units). This also includes costs for services, on-site hospital, healthcare, and much more.

Duane Nason

Founder of Citizens Again. Certified crazy guy trying to end homelessness. Lifelong entrepreneur, degree in mathematics, software engineer by trade.

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