SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced on Wednesday, September 27 an Executive Directive aimed to reduce housing project timelines by nearly half which will lead to the creation of 5,000 new units every year for the foreseeable future. According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, the initiative will help produce a production goal of at least 5,000 housing units each year.

“For too long, we failed to develop enough housing in our city, creating an environment where families left San Francisco for more affordable places to live,” said Mayor Lee. “We will not allow the mistakes of the past to continue. Instead of putting up obstacles to housing, this initiative will foster an environment where homes can be created quickly and efficiently. More housing in San Francisco will make this city more affordable for our families.”

The New Executive Directive calls for greater collaboration, accountability and transparency among all city departments that play a role in the issuing of building permits. The initiative will decrease entitlement times and guarantee that building permits, subdivision maps and other post-entitlement permits are issued in a swift, manner. A full copy of the Executive Directive can be found here.

“We cannot expect to create more housing when projects struggle through the permitting process,” said Supervisor Katy Tang. “I am thrilled to see the Mayor launch this important initiative to remove barriers to creating more housing in San Francisco.”

In 2014, Mayor Lee aimed for San Francisco to build 30,000 new and rehabilitated units by 2020. Over 17,000 units have been brought online, where 35 percent are permanently affordable. During a 30-year period beginning in 1986, San Francisco averaged 1,967 new units each year. The Mayor’s Executive Directive to create 5,000 units annually will mark a 160 percent increase from those averages.

“Our housing affordability crisis is a result of decades of inaction and purposeful underbuilding that has only served the wealthiest among us while leaving out our working- and middle-class families,” said Supervisor Ahsha Safaí. “I give Mayor Ed Lee my unwavering support on this issue and commend him for his willingness to tackle our housing crisis head-on.”

“There’s no greater threat to the Bay Area’s prosperity, diversity and quality of life than our region’s severe housing shortage,” said Christine Johnson, San Francisco Director for San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR) and a member of the San Francisco Planning Commission. “Every city in the region must take bold, immediate steps to provide homes for everyone, especially those who struggle to remain in the Bay Area. Mayor Lee has shown unprecedented leadership for San Francisco and the region by calling for the removal of unnecessary barriers to approving, permitting and building homes for San Franciscans. SPUR looks forward to working with Mayor Lee, members of the Board of Supervisors, and every City Department to implement the Mayor’s Executive Directive and accelerate the building of 5,000 new homes for San Franciscans every year.”

The Executive Directive calls for enhanced coordination with private housing developers, while also increasing collaborative efforts with city departments.

“This executive order from Mayor Lee sends a message that we must stop doing business as usual to impact our housing crisis,” said Douglas Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California. “It will speed up the delivery of affordable homes to families, seniors and veterans.”