December 7, 2022

Families say new site of teachers’ houses is damaging their homes


Families in San Francisco say their homes are rocking hard and cracking inside due to the construction of a housing estate for teachers.

Work on the city’s first affordable housing project for educators began in late September as part of a $105 million investment.

When completed in late 2024, Shirley Chisholm Village will provide 134 affordable homes in hopes of tackling a teacher shortage in one of the world’s most expensive property markets.

Neighbors say they support the project in principle, but when construction begins at 7 a.m. their entire homes shake like an “earthquake”.

A resident requested that a structural engineer be sent to the site because “their house is shaking and cracks are forming,” according to an Oct. 5 complaint filed with SF’s Department of Building Inspections via 311.

“We have to put up with our whole house sounding and feeling like the construction zone itself. Is there anything we can do?” said a NextDoor user who lives nearby, but asked not to be named. “I understand 100% that the project needs to be finished, but this going to last at least another year and it’s so disturbing!”

The site of the future Shirley Chisholm Village which will provide 134 affordable homes in hopes of tackling teacher shortages. | Joe Burn / The Standard

Philip Lesser, SF permit sender and local building knowledge expert, told The Standard that an inspection could “red label” work, halt it and lead to serious delays.

“Anything that damages neighboring properties and potential safety issues will basically be tagged red,” Lesser said. “DBI will stop production on it and potentially have to send in geologists or structural engineers.”

Lesser said that if the houses were shaking, inspectors would likely make a judgment, but “if he starts to see cracks, that’s another thing.”

“MidPen Housing has maintained a great working relationship with the neighbors who have been deeply involved in this process from the start. We understand that although demolition and earthmoving activities are temporary, they are disruptive. We expect this phase of construction to be completed in January 2023,” said Alicia Gaylord, Director of Housing Development for MidPen Housing.

MidPen said they would be happy to speak with any neighbors about their concerns.

The general contractor, Cahill Contractors, keeps neighbors informed of construction activities with monthly updates, MidPen said.

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Cahill provided direct contact information for the site superintendent, who can be contacted if neighbors have construction-related issues.

If neighbors would like to receive these monthly construction updates directly by email or have any concerns about the project, they can contact the MidPen team at [email protected]

All homes in Shirley Chisholm Village will be subject to a tenant preference for SF Unified School District educators, employees and their families. A total of 34 units will be reserved for SFUSD educators and employees earning between 40% and 60% of the median area income, with the remaining units designated for SFUSD to those earning between 80% and 120% AMI.

A DBI spokesperson said the cracking home complaint was filed anonymously without an address, so an inspector is unable to visit the property or contact the person who filed the complaint. . They confirmed that a geotechnical engineer is currently on site to monitor the work at its current stage.

DBI says the department follows up on all complaints filed with the department.