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Stanford Report, August 27, 1997

Ford appointed to SF housing commission:8/27/97

Richard Ford appointed to San Francisco housing commission

Richard Ford, assistant professor of law at Stanford, has been appointed to the San Francisco Housing Commission. Ford, who was sworn in earlier this summer, was appointed to the seven-member panel by Mayor Willie Brown.

While his academic and professional work has focused on a variety of urban issues including housing, Ford's responsibility as a commissioner will be to set policy that pertains exclusively to San Francisco's public housing.

"Public housing in many urban areas is under some pressure," Ford said. "It's under political pressure, but also the pressure of simply trying to run a large, complicated agency dedicated to providing low-income housing with diminishing funds, and the additional pressures that face political institutions that don't face private institutions."

The San Francisco Housing Authority, like many of its counterparts around the country, may have had difficulty balancing those pressures, Ford said. In San Francisco, these troubles led to the deterioration of some properties and to a takeover in 1996 by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development.

"The HUD receivership was a way to give the housing authority a boost at getting back on track, to become the type of housing authority that San Francisco deserves and that any city deserves," Ford said. "We'll be developing a comprehensive, sound policy for the management for this housing authority, which will include all the types of issues that any private landlord would deal with in addition to a number of issues that private landlords don't deal with." In addition to general maintenance of properties, these include housing assignments, construction of new properties and a job-training program developed as a result of welfare reform.

Ford, who lives in San Francisco, teaches courses in property, housing law, local government, and race and the law. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford in 1988 and his J.D. from Harvard in 1991. Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford, Ford was a Reginald Lewis Fellow at Harvard. He also has practiced at Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco.