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Rent-driven exodus – City services at risk

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Soaring rents in San Francisco are threatening nonprofits and small businesses with extinction, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Small businesses and nonprofit groups faced with huge rent increases because of the booming economy are being driven either out of town or business.

The loss of nonprofits damages city government, the newspaper reports, because nonprofit agencies have millions of dollars in city contracts to provide services for the young, old, ill and addicted.

“I do not hesitate to use the work ‘crisis’,” Glynn Washington of the Human Services Network told the city’s Small Business, Economic Vitality and Consumer Services Committee.

“Human services organizations have told me they are grateful their rents are only being tripled,” he said.

Marnie Gillett, executive director of San Francisco Camerawork, an arts center, said her group is faced with a quadrupling of rent at the end of the year.

“It’s now a real issue of survival,” she said.

Supervisors Gavin Newsom and Mark Leno agreed the city should look into buying property. The committee also discussed the example of New York City, which offers developers a property tax break for providing space to nonprofits at affordable rates.

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