Saki Bailey, the Executive Director of San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT), has a decade of experience in nonprofit management and program development roles; a decade of experience in facilitation, teaching and training roles both in the academic and non-profit sectors with a focus on the legal regulation around Community Land Trusts, Co-op formation, and incorporation. Saki is a published author on property law, community land trusts, and the commons with three books and multiple articles published by both academic and non-academics publishers and journals translated into multiple languages. Saki is an educator and trainer on community land trusts, coops, and other shared equity ownership models based on her six plus years of research on the topic and serves currently on the board of the California Community Land Trust Network and its policy committee in advancing legislation for Community Land Trusts and Limited Equity Housing Cooperatives.
Read the podcast transcript here
Eve Picker: [00:00:07] Hi there. Thanks for joining me on Rethink Real Estate. For Good. I’m Eve Picker and I’m on a mission to make real estate work for everyone. I love real estate. Real estate makes places good or bad, rich or poor, beautiful or not. In this show, I’m interviewing the disruptors, those creative thinkers and doers that are shrugging off the status quo in order to build better for everyone. If you haven’t already, check out all of my podcasts at our website RethinkRealEstateforGood.co, or you can find them at your favorite podcast station. You’ll find lots worth listening to, I’m sure.
Eve: [00:00:58] Today, I’m talking with Saki Bailey. Saki is the executive director of the San Francisco Community Land Trust and an expert in community land trusts, co-ops, and limited equity housing cooperatives. To back that up, she has authored books on property law, community land trusts and the Commons in multiple languages. In this podcast, she breaks down how community land trusts emerged, how they have morphed from land to buildings, and how they are gaining rapidly in popularity. More importantly, she explains how a community land trust might be usefully applied to ownership models. And she tells us about the Community Land Trust’s latest project on 285 Turk Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district. She’s hoping the community will fill in the equity gap through a crowdfunding campaign to convert 34 units into a permanently affordable co-op. It’s a fascinating conversation you’ll want to listen in.
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Eve: [00:02:31] Hello, Saki, I’m really delighted to have you with me today.
Saki Bailey: [00:02:35] Hi, Eve. Thank you so much for having me. It’s really an honor to be here.
Eve: [00:02:39] So, I’ve come to know you through an offering that your non-profit organization has listed on Small Change. And it’s a really challenging project and pretty unique. But I wanted to first talk about your non-profit organization, which is called the San Francisco Community Land Trust. So, what is a community land trust?
Saki: [00:03:00] Yeah, that’s a great question, and it isn’t an easy answer, but I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. Community Land Trust holds land in perpetuity to keep it permanently affordable for the residents and the tenants, who either live on the properties of the Land Trust as renters but permanently affordable renters, meaning that their rents are kept very low or where they own actually an equity share and actually are homeowners of the structure. It’s a delinking between the structure, the home itself and the land beneath, with the Land Trust owning the land with a 99-year ground lease and the resident owning the structure through shares.
Eve: [00:03:47] When did land trusts, community land trusts emerge first?
Saki: [00:03:51] Yes, there’s a long history of community land trusts. So, while it’s sort of a model that I think really has taken off in the last, I would say, decade and especially the last few years as the affordable housing crisis really heats up around the country. This model has actually been in existence since the late 60s. Yeah! So, the first Community Land Trust was created in Albany, Georgia, and actually really has an interesting history and rootedness in the civil rights movement and really was a mechanism by which black plantation workers were actually able to take back land ownership and really was an effort to create agricultural land wealth holdings for the black community. And since then, has evolved over time. And really, the focus of the Land Trust is now on housing and less about agricultural land, but really with the same mission of returning land and wealth that’s been appropriated from people of color back to people of color. And that’s really the focus of San Francisco Community Land Trust. So, we have this complex model, but really the aim of it is to provide black and people of color homeownership in a city where that’s really become impossible.
Eve: [00:05:21] Very difficult, yeah.
Saki: [00:05:23] Yeah, absolutely.
Eve: [00:05:24] So how long has the San Francisco Community Land Trust been in existence?
Saki: [00:05:29] So, San Francisco Community Land Trust has been around since 2003, and we really developed as a community grassroots political activist organization, organizing around, at that time, different types of legislation that were coming up on, sort of, the map of the San Francisco political landscape and namely the Small Sites program and even precursors to the Small Sites program. So, this is a city program that really focused on displacement that was happening in units between five to 25 units. So those smaller units, the units that actually are, that make up the majority of the housing stock in San Francisco. And around that time, we got involved in a really huge tenant struggle that was going on in Chinatown with first generation Chinese immigrants and second-generation Chinese Americans really being the community that was organizing around a building that was being threatened to first be demolished and then purchased by a predatory real estate company. So San Francisco Community Land Trust came in and assisted those tenants to purchase that twenty-one-unit building in Chinatown, and that was the first project that we had. That project got incorporated into a limited equity housing cooperative, so that model where the tenants own shares and own their building while the Land Trust owns the land. And we turned it into the first project called Columbus United Cooperative.
Eve: [00:07:06] Wow. So, you’ve been at the Land Trust for a short time? And what brought you there? What’s your background?
Saki: [00:07:13] Yeah. So, my background, while I’ve been here for a short time, so it’s been eight months, eight crazy months of drinking….
Eve: [00:07:20] Sounds like it.
Saki: [00:07:21] Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. But in a way, I feel like this is very much home for me. And the reason why is because prior to this, I was already on another Land Trust – Bay Area Community Land Trust, which is across the bay in Berkeley – and then prior to that, for 15 years, I actually have been a researcher and policy advocate and attorney around the Community Land Trust model, and I’ve written several books and articles, both in academic and policy journals, around this model of how do you create access to land which de-commodifies the land, takes the land off of the speculative market and creates more equitable access for people of low and moderate income?
Eve: [00:08:09] Yeah, that’s a lot to absorb. It’s a pretty unique model. There are also co-operatives mixed in in the work that you do, and there’s limited equity cooperatives. So on top of the land trust model, there’s also, you seem to, at least the San Francisco Community Land Trust, also works with co0operatives. So, tell us a little bit about how that works, because I learned a little bit with a project that you’re currently raising money for. But it, and I’m a pretty experienced developer, but it was brain damage for me to understand how that process works.
Saki: [00:08:46] Yeah, absolutely. So, I mean, what might be helpful in trying to kind of think about, why are we trying to do this? Why are we trying to make it so complicated for you, Eve, and everybody else with these models that that requires so much explanation and almost like a law degree to, sort of, understand because of the way that there’s this delinked ownership, the ownership of the land, the ownership of the structure. And really what it comes down to is, you know, I think we need to put it in the social context of the problem of affordability in cities like San Francisco and cities like Manhattan, which have actually long histories of cooperatives of this type, these types of affordable cooperatives. So, I just want to kind of take us to the setting in which we are for your listeners, people who might be living all over the U.S. and not so familiar with what has happened in San Francisco over the last 15 years. You know, San Francisco has gone through such a dramatic change with the sort of increase of tech billionaires, the growth of Silicon Valley. We have tens of thousands of jobs which have sort of exploded into this area and people coming from all over the world, all over the U.S., to work in the tech industry. You know, we have some absurd number like one out of eleven thousand six hundred people in San Francisco is a billionaire. I mean, you know there’s….
Eve: [00:10:19] Ooh, that’s crazy.
Saki: [00:10:20] Yes, that’s right. I mean, so we’re living in a city which, where we’re walking amongst billionaires, and yet there’s 8000 people out on the streets living homeless, unhoused. You know, this is a place where Leilani Farha, who is the U.N. special rapporteur on housing, came after a tour where she had visited cities like Mexico City and Delhi and said that San Francisco had the worst conditions that she has ever seen in housing, even compared to those cities. And she said, you know, that, sadly, her heart was broken in San Francisco because of how tragic the kinds of conditions that she saw here. So, we’re really living in a kind of, you know, actual Gotham City, you know, a city where there’s these complete huge inequalities of wealth and…
Eve: [00:11:20] And yeah, and really just and just for everyday people who may not even be homeless. I remember about five years ago or four years ago, I was there, and I caught an Uber and I was talking to the driver. The driver was a schoolteacher who said that the only way he could put food on the table was to drive every night of the week when he finished his… I mean, that’s very broken, you know.
[00:11:44] That’s extremely broken, that’s right. When you have your children’s schoolteachers needing to take a second job and driving Uber at night and then going back to teach school in the morning. Yeah, we’re living in a broken society. And that’s why I say Gotham City, because it really feels like that you have people living in such undignified conditions and then you have such incredible wealth at the same time. And it’s really about, how are we going to redistribute that wealth? How are we going to make sure that some of that wealth trickles down to the communities of color that have been displaced by the thousands in these last 15 years? For example, you know, in the height of the 60s, we saw the height of the black population. So, 14 percent of San Francisco was black. Today, San Francisco is less than five percent black. Yes, and it’s not an accident. It’s really not an accident. It’s not just the product of an extreme inequality in wealth, but it’s actually also the product of intentional racism and redlining and discrimination against this black community. For example, in 1945, there was a master plan in San Francisco that was put into place really for the aim of keeping certain neighborhoods elite and keeping certain neighborhoods from being re-zoned to create more dense housing for the immigrants that were coming into the city. And from then during that plan, they bought out something like 5000 households from the Fillmore in Western addition districts which have always been historically black districts. And so that kind of practice of forcing black communities out of certain neighborhoods that were gentrifying has been going on forever in San Francisco.
Eve: [00:13:45] Yeah, it’s also been going on everywhere else as well.
Saki: [00:13:48] Absolutely, everywhere else that we really see it like, for example, I raise it because that particular government action, of buying out those five thousand families, is the topic of the film, for example, which came out several years ago now, which is, you know, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. And it’s really the story of a person whose grandfather’s house got bought out when he was five years old. And the whole premise of the film is of this man who then grows up in San Francisco is one of the last black men in San Francisco wanting to then buy back his ancestral home many, many years later. And you know, this is the reality for San Franciscans today.
Eve: [00:14:32] So, so you work against that backdrop, right?
Saki: [00:14:35] Exactly, exactly. So let me get to where the limited equity housing cooperative fits in here. So, working in this extreme backdrop of racism, of inequality in wealth of, you know, astronomical real estate prices, what is a way forward by which we can create ownership for people of color? Well, it’s not going to come through the market, OK? An average median price of a house in San Francisco is $1.6 million. That is. Yes. That is, and that’s cheap. That’s probably not totally reflective of some of the neighborhoods, right? So, the more wealthier neighborhoods, it’s easily three point five million dollars. So, you know, but as an area median price of a house, I mean, most people have no way of ever saving that much. We know that, for example, for every dollar of white wealth, one cent of that is owned by people of color. So, we know that the gap is so huge that there’s just no way to own a house of this value.
Saki: [00:15:48] So how do we do it? We do it through limited equity. So, by the Land Trust going in and becoming a partner with the community and becoming partner with these residents we’re able to use the Land Trust and the non-profit to secure the loans that are necessary to buy the land. So the land is already very expensive, but we are able to have access to state subsidies, city subsidies and also the equity that we raise through our very generous foundations and individuals who contribute to our projects like, for example, in this latest project, I know that we will start talking about next, which is advertised on Small Change, 1.4 million dollars in equity was raised by San Francisco Community Land Trust through these generous foundations and individuals who contributed to make this project permanently affordable. So by being able to sort of draw upon these resources, because we have relationships with lenders, we’re able to buy the land, and then what we’re able to do then is to turn around and go to the residents and say, now let’s give you a piece of this. So, this remains yours forever. Now it’s not going to be outright homeownership in the sense that one day you’ll be able to sell at windfall prices that float on the market. Rather, we cap the equity so that it remains affordable for the next generation of buyers. So, we sell shares, the prices are not so high that people aren’t able to buy in. So, we capped the price of the shares to something like $10,000 each or even less. And so, people buy these shares and then they appreciate over time something between one and four percent capped to an index like the consumer price index or area median income. And so over time, people get equity back from their property in the form of kind of a modest savings. But what they really get is a right to live in their home as a homeowner in the sense that they can actually pass this property on, their unit, on to their successors. In sort of the bundle of rights when you own a property. And so, this is the way in which we’re trying to make San Francisco more affordable and to give people a home ownership stake, particularly for people of color.
Eve: [00:18:08] So it’s not easy. Like, in order to keep a property affordable, you have to give up the potential for equity, which means that many investors who don’t understand what the triple bottom line really means are not going to be waiting to invest in a project like this. They have to really want to be giving something back to accept what’s probably going to be a much lower return. And I imagine it’s just as difficult to find lenders who don’t understand these models because lenders tend to be sort of used to seeing the same thing over and over again. This is a very different model. So you know, who are you lenders and partners in projects like this besides the equity partners?
Saki: [00:18:54] Yes. Yes, I think you raise a number of really important things. It is not easy creating this type of housing, and the complexity is also a barrier for many lenders. So we don’t have partners like banks. Like Wells Fargo or Bank of America or more mainstream lenders, right? Because mainstream lenders are concerned about, you know, for example, their ability to foreclose on the property with this kind of model where the tenants own a piece of it and the Land Trust owns another part, right? So, we work with credit unions, we work with CDFI’s. We work with lenders like Self-help Credit Union for this project, this latest project, with LISC or LIIF. These are a couple of CDFIs. We work also with impact investors, right? So, you mentioned the type of investors that are going to be interested in our types of projects are really those who understand the impact of what they do. So, they aren’t looking for a really high rate of return. They’re looking for a modest rate of return and really about the kind of impact that they’re creating through the project. So that’s really the target of our focus here is, are folks like that. And we thought, you know what? We might actually have a network of people who are willing, and there’s an appetite for that kind of project, and the reason for that is because of this $1.4 million equity raising.
Eve: [00:20:26] I think that’s probably true. We had a project in Los Angeles that was an eight-unit project for four formerly homeless people, and it filled up faster than, and it wasn’t a huge raise, but it filled up faster than any other. I think because many people have a conscience, and they really want to help somehow. Somehow, even if they only have a little way to do that, so, but getting back to banks, we talked about mainstream banks not wanting to have projects like this on their books. But how are we going to address the huge housing gap if they don’t start having projects like this on their books? I mean, LISC cannot fund everything in the country that needs to happen. So, you know, what needs to happen in the banking world to make it possible to accomplish much more?
Saki: [00:21:23] Yeah, that’s a really great question. Well, I think that it has to start with the lenders in the secondary mortgage market like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. And actually, some of that has started to happen. So, for example, Freddie Mac, a couple of years ago, went in to the CLT market and set, told the mainstream lenders, actually we are now in this market. So, if, should you choose to lend, we’re going to mitigate your risk. That’s essentially what happens when these lenders in the secondary market go in is that they’re saying, look, we’re willing to buy up your debt. And so, as a result, your risk is being mitigated and what happened is that it’s still taking sort of years. Now it’s, I guess, a couple of years, maybe two or three years, to sort of have that trickle down and get actually made into policy on the ground level. So, we haven’t seen those shifts yet that we expected to see when we heard that announcement. So that’s one, is that I think that we need to kind of get the banks on board with this new information and kind of push them to figure out how they’re going to do their underwriting for these types of projects. Another part of it is that the underwriting is a bit complicated, right? So, another innovation is that Freddie Mac, also as part of that move to create this kind of secondary market and CLT mortgages is to streamline the underwriting process to make it easier. So that’s another big step.
Saki: [00:23:01] But one of the other things is that that legislation, or that policy shift that took place within Freddie Mac, it was not for multi-unit buildings. And so it really didn’t have an impact on cities. Yeah, so I think that’s another part of it, is that that policy needs to be applied to CLT-owned multi-unit buildings. And I know that there’s some lobbying work, advocacy work around that. But I think that’s really what we need to do is to really fund this model. And I just want to say, Eve, you know, what’s really unique about this model as opposed to, you know, you were saying, if we’re going to address the affordable housing crisis that’s taking place throughout this country, we really need the banks to kind of shift in understanding models like ours. And I just want to say, why models like ours are so important in that context. It’s really important, of course, to keep building and new housing production, creating new affordable housing. But what our model does is preservation, right? So, it’s really about creating affordability in the existing buildings, now as opposed to 10 years from now. Like, for example, in an affordable housing production, we know that just by producing housing for the market, it takes something like 10 years before that sort of trickles down to people of low and moderate income. Why….
Eve: [00:24:27] And it’s very expensive to produce new housing compared to saving it?
Saki: [00:24:32] Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s exactly it. It takes so much more, so many more dollars to create new housing than to actually keep the affordable housing stock that we have or to create affordability in the existing housing stock. So that’s really why our work is so critical because we’re keeping people in place today, you know, before they have to leave the city, as opposed to a plan of, well in 10 years, well, you know, please, whenever, you move back.
Eve: [00:25:01] You come back, I know.
Saki: [00:25:03] It should be called a right of return, or something like that, because that’s essentially what it is. It’s not really keeping people housed right now.
Eve: [00:25:11] Right. So, tell us a little about the current project. It’s 285 Turk Street. Well, it’s located on Turk Street, but where is that in San Francisco?
Saki: [00:25:23] Yeah. So, 285 Turk is in the Tenderloin. So, this is a really, kind of interesting area of the city. Interesting may be a euphemism in some ways, because it’s also.
[00:25:35] I was going to say that
[00:25:36] It’s a very colorful part of the city.
Eve: [00:25:37] Very colorful, yes.
Saki: [00:25:39] Yes, yes. And it kind of perfectly captures that inequality that I was talking about because we’re, you have on one hand, the theater district, right? You have the Opera, you have City Hall, one of the most, sort of, monumental buildings in all of San Francisco where everything is happening. All the deals are being made. You have, you see Hastings School of Law, you know, you have courts, you have lawyers running back and forth on the street. And yet at the same time, we have the highest percentage of our un-housed population there, right there in the Tenderloin. We have, you know, a number of non-profits as a result that serve those communities that are really leaders in our community, the Tenderloin Housing District, for example, or Glide Memorial Church, these are, kind of, really iconic sort of non-profits that are really, really doing amazing community work, really organizing people at the sort of grassroots level. And then you have the transgender cultural district. So and part of that is that you do have a lot of sex work that is happening in the city. There’s also rampant drugs and crime, and we have, you know, now what’s emerging is that the highest new percentage of unhoused folks are actually people between the age of 18 to 25, which is a real tragedy. That really shows there’s another, right, sign of a broken society when you have kids that are actually the unhoused. So, another part of it is that it also borders on the Vietnamese cultural district, so you have a number of Vietnamese shops and restaurants. And so it’s a really very unique part of the city in some ways creates what we put in quotes natural, affordable or naturally kind of developed affordable housing in the sense of that, you know, the economy there is block to block and some of the blocks are just really affordable because of the features of that neighborhood.
Eve: [00:27:55] But the neighborhood is feeling pressure, right? It has to be because of what’s happening in the whole of San Francisco. Is it, is there fear of gentrification? What’s happening there?
Saki: [00:28:08] Yeah, I wouldn’t say that there’s kind of an impending gentrification that’s going on. But as you say, it’s sort of an inevitable part of San Francisco. Yes, eventually in 10 years, I don’t think this neighborhood will look the way that it does right now. On the other hand, it sort of resists gentrification because of all these features that I just mentioned. But yeah, I mean, I think it’s probably inevitable that if we don’t start to save these buildings now, we are on what they call the edge of a real estate apocalypse, right, where soon land is going to be so expensive that we’re just not going to be able to buy it as non-profits or the city publicly using public tax dollars to keep it affordable going forward. So it’s really now, right. If we’re going to save these neighborhoods, we have to invest now.
Eve: [00:28:58] And 285 Turk Street, how big is it? I’ve seen photos of it. It’s actually a very pretty building. Tell us a little bit about the building.
Saki: [00:29:09] Yeah. So, this was a building owned by Mosser, a very large real estate investment company. It still is, we’re still in the midst of the closing. And the closing is around, should be closing around January 15th. So still, lots of time for folks to invest. But yes, I mean, you know, this building, you know, it is very beautiful. The Mosser did do a number of renovations, so it’s 40 units, something like 29 of them being studio apartments, the rest being one- and two-bedroom units. Most of the units have been fully renovated and the remaining ones we intend to renovate once we obtain the post-acquisition funding that we’re trying to raise the money for right now through the our crowd raise. It is a very beautiful building, the community that is in the building currently, so there’s 30 households, and the 30 households are primarily of Filipino and Latino descent. So Filipino, Black and Latino descent and actually the Latino population, it’s very interesting, but a majority of them are actually indigenous from the Yucatan Peninsula. Kind of a very interesting San Francisco population, which is growing. Yeah.
Eve: [00:30:32] So, and do these people know of your plans and how do they how do they feel about it?
Saki: [00:30:38] Yeah. So, we have been working from the beginning with a organizer, Lorenzo Listana, who is with the Filipino Development Corporation. So, he’s been an organizer at this unit now for, I think it’s almost three years, that he’s been organizing the tenants, talking to them about their rights, initially assisting them with the predatory rent hikes that were being imposed on them, to fight that. Also, uninhabitable conditions, et cetera. So, Lorenzo’s really been working very closely with the residents and also informing them about the plans. He was actually interviewed just recently on PBS NewsHour. We just had a piece done about 285. If anybody’s interested in seeing that, you can pop in PBS Weekend Edition and you can learn a little bit more about the CLT and the purchase there. So, we really rely heavily on Lorenzo in providing this sort of education about the Community Land Trust. But going forward, we have also hired a resident education coordinator, and this is a kind of critical part of how we turn this building from a permanently affordable rental into a limited equity housing cooperative. So, our one part of the model in terms of how we finance it, is that we build a kind of half-time employee who works half-time for the building and half-time for the Land Trust into the project budget. And that’s really, as folks will see when they go into the details of this project, they’ll see that some portion of the raise is going towards that person’s salary. So, we’ve been able to already anticipate that we’ll be able to raise this money and we’ve hired that resident coordinator who is half, who is a bilingual, fully bilingual in Spanish and English. And she also has a co-op education background. So, she’s going to be providing this kind of important, what we call a five step or five part co-op curriculum, to the residents over the next many months. But that work will begin after we close on January 15th.
Eve: [00:32:56] So really, this is way more than buying a building and flipping it. It’s really about educating all of the tenants and bringing them along with your plans, and it’s hugely challenging.
Saki: [00:33:09] It is. It’s almost like a mission impossible. I mean, in a way, that’s really how I kind of view our work, is that we’re trying to create affordability in one of the most unaffordable cities in the city, and we’re trying to do it through a model that really provides low- and moderate-income people with an equity stake in a building and creating home ownership. So yes, it takes education. It takes time. Part of why it takes time, as well, is because we’re helping these residents to save for their equity share. You know, not all of these residents already have the savings to contribute towards an equity share. So, it’s really also about financial empowerment and creating access to financial empowerment tools and assisting them to save. And that’s why we put a kind of five-year timeline around this conversion to a limited equity housing cooperative.
Eve: [00:34:04] It’s pretty fabulous. Requires a lot of patience. So, what success rate do you expect in converting these residents to owners?
Saki: [00:34:16] Yeah, I mean, it depends on a lot of different circumstances. I can’t say that we have, like, so many buildings that we’ve converted to this model that we know exactly what it’s going to take. Our first project, the one that I mentioned, Columbus United Cooperative in Chinatown, that was converted to a limited equity housing cooperative within three years. So, it’s really hard to tell with this very diverse population. And I think maybe potentially those who are of lower income, how long it will take for them to save and organize. You know, a huge part of it, though, is the success of that resident and education coordinator. You know, part of the success of the Columbus United Cooperative really comes from the fact that from the beginning we baked in, or built in, that coordinator who actually is still with us today. She’s our longest-running employee, Julie Dye(??), who’s half, who’s Chinese and speaks full bilingual Mandarin. And I think that’s a really critical part of this as well, is that the coordinator is someone who’s really rooted in that community, really is able to overcome the language access barriers, so that’s really why we focused on this new resident coordinator being fully bilingual in Spanish.
Eve: [00:35:40] She must really love her job. It must give her great satisfaction.
Saki: [00:35:45] Yeah, I think it’s hard work, but absolutely, it’s one of those jobs that on a good day, it’s like the best day you’ve ever had, yeah,
Eve: [00:35:52] I have to ask, is there anyone else in the US using this model, doing what you’re doing?
Saki: [00:35:58] Absolutely. You know, we’re a really fast emerging model. So, there are something like three hundred community land trusts across the United States, and that number is going up every day. I mean, I think in the last five years, there were more CLTs created than in the entire, you know, history from the 60s. Yeah, exactly. So there are CLTs popping up everywhere. And I think especially in urban areas, right? Where that affordability is really, really… So, in the past, it really was, as I mentioned, a model that was focused on agricultural land. But obviously in the last 30 years, it’s all been in cities.
Eve: [00:36:40] That’s really interesting. So, what’s next for you? More the same? Lots more.
Saki: [00:36:46] Yeah, I guess that’s it. I mean, that’s yes, absolutely. That’s sort of how we measure our success is how many buildings can we make permanently affordable this year and the next year and before this real estate apocalypse, like I mentioned, is sort of upon us. Or perhaps it’s already upon us. But, you know, I think it’s really about figuring out how do we make these projects deeply affordable going forward? Some of it has to be done through public dollars through city subsidies. So, we continue to work with the Small Sites program and actually we’re in the midst of another acquisition, right now.
Eve: [00:37:24] Oh great! That’s great.
Saki: [00:37:26] Yeah, through the City of San Francisco. So we have had a long, ongoing partnership with the City of San Francisco ever since the Small Sites program was created. Actually, San Francisco’s Neil Antress (??), as I mentioned, was one of the authors of the Small Sites program. So, we work with the city to make units permanently affordable, and it’s really about, I think, also shifting the city’s politics around cooperatives because that’s one of the difficulties for us is that we’d love to make every project a Small Sites project. But not every Small Sites project can be converted into a limited equity housing cooperative because of various legislative barriers. So we’re working, you know, I guess that’s kind of next on my agenda, aside from creating more affordable buildings, is really working on that reform or policy change, which needs to take place around cooperatives in San Francisco.
Eve: [00:38:21] Well, San Francisco is such a beautiful city. Really, everyone should enjoy it. It’s been really miserable watching this happen from the outside. So, I hope you have enormous success. It’s a pretty fabulous program.
Saki: [00:38:37] Thank you so much, Eve. Yeah, it is a beautiful city, and yes, I think we can make it available for more people to live in and work in as opposed to just visit as tourists, the more beautiful it will be also for everyone else, including those tourists. So, thank you.
Eve: [00:38:55] Thank you. That was Saki Bailey. She’s spent a career becoming an expert on community land trusts, and now she’s putting that knowledge to work as the executive director of the San Francisco Community Land Trust. There, she leads a team working on the conversion of existing rental properties into permanently affordable housing co-ops for the tenants who live there. She’s helping to put assets into the hands of those who’ve never had that opportunity before. It’s challenging, but so very important.
[00:39:44] You can find out more about this episode or others you might have missed on the show notes page at our website RethinkRealEstateForGood.co There’s lots to listen to there. A special thanks to David Allardice for his excellent editing of this podcast and original music. And thanks to you for spending your time with me today. We’ll talk again soon, but for now, this is Eve Picker signing off to go make some change.
Image courtesy of Saki Bailey, San Francisco Community Land Trust