Assistance program helping first responders, teachers buy homes in San Francisco

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Four years ago when now retired San Francisco Deputy Sheriff Elaine Redus lost her home in a short-sale, the San Francisco native thought she’d be a renter for the rest of her life.

Then, she applied for a downpayment assistance loan from the mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

She got approved and once again, she owns.

“I never believed that I could even own a home,” she said. “I was able to put my application in, they picked my name, and I don’t think. I call it a blessing.”

Redus shared her story with a current San Francisco firefighter and two elementary school teachers with Mayor London Breed and Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The group met Thursday in the Sunset District at Francis Scott Key Elementary School.

They highlighted the $1.75 billion investment Newsom signed into the state budget this year to create new housing and programs in San Francisco available for people with good jobs and reasonable salaries, still struggling to buy a home or even rent an apartment.

“You have a family of four making $200,000 a year,” Breed said. “People think, ‘oh my God, 200,000 is a lot,’ but think about it. With kids, with the expense of living in the city. I mean, it’s really hard to save money to put a down payment on a home in the first place. So, having an option like this can be absolutely incredible.”

Newsom said the housing crisis is putting the California dream in peril. 

“The California dream is in real peril if we don’t address the housing crisis,” Newsom said. “We’re not building enough housing. We’re 49th out of 50th in per capita housing units. Only Utah, on a per capita basis develops less in the state of California.”

The governor says he’s working on protections for tenants against rent gouging.

He also believes city’s should consider relaxing some zoning ordinances to inspire more building.

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