The health and safety of a population are significantly affected by the quality and maintenance of the housing infrastructure.[i] The number and rate of housing violations are an important indicator of healthy and safe housing. People living in substandard housing are at increased risk of dangerous environmental exposures, including mold or pests which can trigger asthma, dangerous fixtures that can lead to falls, and toxins such as lead which can cause disability or death, especially in children. In an expensive and competitive housing market, low-income tenants may be reluctant to report housing issues to their landlord because they fear they will be evicted or that their rent will be increased and will be unable to find other affordable housing in San Francisco.
Historically, the rate of housing violations issued by the Department of Public Health has been 3-5 times higher in the CMTL area compared to the city overall. This is true for violations issued in SROs and other types of housing. Violations rates increased between 2011 and 2015 for all housing types in the CMTL area and overall citywide; however, SRO violation rates citywide dropped slightly during that period.
This data illustrates that non-SRO housing is more likely to be issued housing violation in the CMTL than elsewhere in the city. This is likely due to the age of the housing in the neighborhood, poor property maintenance, and renters that may struggle with maintaining a clean and safe home environment due to age or mental illness.
Housing violation data: San Francisco Department of Public Health, Environmental Health Branch, 2011-2015.
All housing units count: San Francisco Planning Department, 2011-2015.
SRO housing units count: San Francisco Department of Building Inspection, 2015.
[i] Braveman P, Dekker M, Egerter S, Sadegh-Nobari T, and Pollack C. “Exploring the Social Determinants of Health: Housing and Health.” Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. May 2011.