SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Acting Mayor London Breed and San Francisco labor groups revealed on Tuesday, January 23 a new partnership effort aimed at creating well-paying jobs, and increasing housing opportunities for local residents.

According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, San Francisco in collaboration with local labor unions will develop a business plan and fund a stakeholder engagement process for the development of a modular housing production facility in the city. Modular construction is a method in which building components are built offsite and transported to a construction site for fast assembly. The modular units created at this San Francisco facility will specifically be used for residents dealing with homelessness.

“The housing shortages and homelessness issues facing our city are the challenges of our time, and we need to deliver creative solutions,” said Acting Mayor Breed. “It is clear that we need more housing and we need it now. With this initiative, we are taking bold new steps to build homes in a timely, efficient manner while continuing to create strong union jobs for our residents.”

“I want to thank former Mayor Ed Lee and current Mayor London Breed for recognizing building trades workers and the importance of keeping these jobs in San Francisco,” said Larry Mazzola Jr., President of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. “Fixing the homeless problem, along with the housing shortage in San Francisco are two major issues that San Francisco faces, and we are proud to partner with the City to help develop a facility that addresses these issues while keeping jobs in our local economy.”

“We see a real opportunity in this for pathways into good careers for San Francisco residents,” said Michael Theriault, Secretary-Treasurer for the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council. “Our gratitude is with the late Mayor Lee and we look forward to a highly productive partnership with Mayor Breed.”

The city of San Francisco will seek a consultant with extensive experience in the design, construction and operation of modular housing production facilities that can develop a business plan and facilitate the stakeholder process. Funding for the consultant will come from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) and Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD).

“We are very excited about the prospect of creating more permanent, quality union jobs while also producing affordable housing faster and more cost-effectively,” said MOHCD Director Kate Hartley. “We are optimistic that this exploratory effort will result in a great win for all San Franciscans.”

“We have made growing and retaining good manufacturing jobs a priority in San Francisco,” said OEWD Director Todd Rufo. “This funding is an important first step in developing a facility in partnership with labor that creates good jobs and accelerates affordable housing.”

The project will consist of two phases. The first phase will involve the consultant’s facilitation and leadership of a series of meetings with staff from the city of San Francisco and labor sector partners regarding the construction and long-term operation of a modular housing production facility. The meetings will study the broad components essential to a facility’s creation, including capital investment requirements, construction specifications, site logistics, transport requirements for raw materials and finished components and staffing levels, among other details.

The second phase of the project will involve the consultant creating a business plan for a modular housing production facility in San Francisco using the Phase 1 process to inform its development. MOHCD and OEWD will finalize recommendations for Acting Mayor Breed by the end of 2018.

Written By Casey Jacobs