Frequently Asked Questions


What is Permanent Supportive Housing

Permanent Supportive Housing is a housing model that combines low-barrier affordable housing, healthcare, and supportive services. This model has been shown to not only impact housing status, but it also results in cost savings to various public service systems. It is independent living in a regular apartment property with the same standard residential lease and house rules that one would find in any other apartment complex. There are also wrap around services offered including case management, service coordination, substance abuse services, links to vocational training, and health and wellness programming. 

What is the onsite staffing?

For services, there will be six case managers, one Resident Services coordinator, and a part-time nurse. For property management, there will be a front desk staff person onsite 24/7, a property manager, an assistant property manager, a janitor, and a maintenance technician.  
A member of the management team will live onsite, as well.


What is the responsibility of the property manager regarding community concerns?

The property manager is responsible for responding to neighborhood residents' concerns regarding the building and the impact residents or guests are having on the neighborhood. There will be staff onsite 24/7 at the property. 


Are residents required to have a job?

There is no requirement that the residents have income or a job. Services staff will work with residents to help them enroll in any public benefits for which they are eligible, providing them some income for rent and other expenses. Case management and behavioral health staff will work with residents to assess their interest in working or volunteering in the community. Staff will work with residents to develop a health and wellness plan that could include getting vocational training in order to allow them to return to work. Services staff often connect residents with employment programs in the neighborhood to obtain work. These programs also work with residents to mentor them to help them with issues that may come up in the workplace and support them in maintaining their employment. 



Can we see the house rules and lease agreement?

Sure! Click to view sample House Rules or sample Lease Agreement.

How long can residents live in their apartments? 

Residents are allowed to stay as long as they comply with the lease and house rules. It’s common for residents to stay for many years. Sometimes residents are not ready or able to live in independent living housing. In the case of those residents, the services team will work with other city service providers to find a more appropriate level of care to avoid the person returning to homelessness.


What's the smoking policy? 

We will allow smoking in the apartments but not the common areas within the building. There will be a smoking area in the courtyard of the building to allow residents to smoke outside but not on the city sidewalk.


Why are there only studio apartments and no 1- or 2-bedroom apartments?

In keeping with the City’s practice, we are providing studio apartments because these homes are designed to serve small households and individuals who have experienced homelessness. This makes it possible to have a robust and cost-efficient supportive services plan onsite to work with residents to improve their lives.

How many people will live in each apartment? 

The apartments allow for two residents maximum.


Are residents allowed to have visitors? 

Yes. Residents can have visitors. The house rules specify the number of days that residents are allowed to have visitors. Residents are responsible for their visitors. Visitors need to follow the same house rules as residents.


What is the pet policy?

Typically, we allow pets of less than 40 lbs. We cannot restrict pets based on breed. Residents may provide a reasonable accommodation letter from a doctor to allow for a pet larger than 40 lbs. We have received feedback from other permanent supportive housing residents that they would like to have a pet area in the courtyard. We are fortunate to be working with a landscape architect to create a pet area.


Is there parking for residents and staff?

No. There will not be parking for residents or staff. Staff and residents typically use bikes, Muni, and other public transit to get to work.

Where can cars load and drop off?

We will include a loading zone adjacent to the building’s main entry on Bryant Street at Harriet St.


Is there any information about how this construction will impact neighboring property values?

Many studies have found that affordable housing does not decrease, and often increases, property values. Nonprofit affordable housing developers tend to have high design standards (because we maintain long-term ownership of the buildings). Good design and property management have been shown to increase property values in the immediate area of affordable housing. Click here to read some studies on property values.

Is there any commercial retail space in the building?

We have included two spaces in the building plan to provide over 1,000 sq ft of neighborhood-serving retail.

What type of business will lease the commercial space?

We would like to partner with neighbors and residents to determine the  use which best addresses the needs of the surrounding community. If you are a neighbor and would like to share an idea, please use the contact form on the homepage.

If you are a business owner who is interested in learning more about the space, please visit the Retail [link to Retail page] page. We would love to hear from you and discuss the space further.

What will happen to The Hall of Justice?

The Hall of Justice will be replaced onsite and house the criminal court function. Given that, we prefer to orient the apartment's windows toward the view downtown.

What will you do about lighting on Harriet Street?

Typically, we are required to repave the street area adjacent to the project site. We will install good quality LED lighting to light the city’s sidewalk as part of the building’s design.


What is the Planning process? 

We applied for entitlements in late December 2018 through the Affordable Housing Streamlined Approval process, under Senate Bill 35 (SB35), which allows for a ministerial review of a Planning Application. A development qualifies for SB35 if it consists of 50% or more affordable housing, is in basic compliance with the Planning Code, and involves no demolition of housing units or a historic structure. The ministerial planning review process allows the Planning Department to approve the applications without a Planning Commission public hearing, since only developments that are essentially in compliance with the Planning Code are allowed to apply under the Affordable Housing Streamlined Approval process.


Mercy Housing also applied for and received a State Density Bonus. The State Density Bonus allows developments that exceed a certain base level of affordability to increase the allowable density of the parcel.


Is the proposed building compliant with the height limit for the site?

The height limit for the site is 40/55’. The height limit is 55’ if there is an art use or social services on the ground floor that serves the residents. The height limit, therefore, would be 55’ based on our proposed building program. The height we are proposing is 68’, which is allowed through the State Density Bonus approval.