The Future of San Francisco’s SROs

From the 1960’s through the early 1990’s, San Francisco saw major battles over efforts to convert or demolish single-room occupancy hotels (SRO’s). Opponents saw SRO’s as rundown bastions of criminality, and even depravity, which held back the city’s progress. This perspective still has weight in many cities, but is politically untenable in San Francisco. Since the city’s anti-conversion law was strengthened in 1990 and SRO advocates won the legal and political battles that followed, the city’s political establishment has promoted SRO’s as a vital housing resource. It’s been a remarkable transformation. The city’s SRO’s have political support unprecedented in the United States, and the question has shifted from their survival to how they can best address San Francisco’s affordable housing shortage. Answering this question requires understanding the new economics of SRO’s, their current demographics, and how the city can fill vacant residential hotel rooms with tenants desperately needing such housing

Beyond Chron


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