Director Tim Colen Steps Down from SFHAC
The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition has announced that they are searching for a new Executive Director to lead their advocacy activities. The member-driven nonprofit group promotes environmentally sound urban policy in San Francisco, and works closely with the anti-sprawl Greenbelt Alliance. After 11 years at the helm, Executive Director Tim Colen has stepped down, his stated reason being to make room for young blood. Prior to his work at SFHAC, Colen worked as a geologist for 25 years, and served as President of the Greater West Portal Neighborhood Association.
In an interview, Colen spoke fondly of his time at SFHAC, citing numerous successes dating back as far as 2002 (spearheading the city's first inclusionary ordinance) up to this month (Accessory Dwelling Unit legislation). "The Housing Action Coalition has quadrupled in membership. We’re doing really well—we’re financially stable, the impact of our message has grown, and this is a good time for someone new to come in with a new vision, energy, and ideas.”
Colen made it clear that he was in no way retiring from advocacy work: "I’m not gonna start playing golf or something," he said. "I intend to take part in the transition and stay active in the political scene, getting support for good urbanist policy in San Francisco.”
He also noted that SFHAC's work has been broad in scope, including significant policy reforms as well as constant support for new construction: “We’re a consistent voice in producing more housing at all levels of affordability. We helped usher in CEQA reform, microunit legislation… Also, consistent, steadfast support for good projects—good, urban projects that face the typical NIMBY opposition, we step in and say ‘no, they advance our environmental and equity goals, and you should approve them.’ We’ve been doing that for a long time, and I think successfully. We’re firing on all cylinders, and we need to continue."
Rather than continuing business as usual, he urged young urbanists to spread the message and build a broader, more inclusive coalition: "The message the YIMBYs are giving, which I think is so wonderful, is bringing in new people, young people, who are outside the design/build community. I don’t think we’ll truly achieve our goals until we get a broader cross-section of people to carry this people—spreading the gospel, so to speak."
Applicants interested in taking Colen's place can find information here.