From HousingWiki

[adapted from Wikipedia: San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation (accessed 2017-05-21)]. 

The San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation (SFBARF) is a political advocacy group formed in response to the San Francisco housing shortage. SFBARF advocates for more housing development, and fewer zoning restrictions on the production of housing.

History, organization, and membership

SFBARF is incorporated as a non-profit political action committee or PAC.[1] The organization's acronym barf, a slang term for vomiting, was deliberately chosen to improve the group's name recognition.

The group was founded in early 2014 by local activist Sonja Trauss, a self-described anarchist.

As of April 2016, the group had a mailing list of 500 people and a "a few dozen hard-core members — most of them young professionals who work in the technology industry — who speak out at government meetings and protest against the protesters who fight new development."


Opponents have accused the organization of being funded by the real estate industry.[2] SFBARF has denied this claim, saying they have raised no money from real estate developers.[3] Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman has donated $10,000 to the group.[2]


SFBARF engages in anti-"NIMBY" political activity, such as rallying for housing projects, campaigning for legislation, and organizing events. The press has referred to SFBARF as an "avidly pro-development grass-roots activist group" aiming to increase the height and density of buildings allowed under San Francisco Bay Area zoning regulations.

The New York Times says of the group: "Its platform is simple: Members want San Francisco and its suburbs to build more of every kind of housing. More subsidized affordable housing, more market-rate rentals, more high-end condominiums."[4]

In 2015, SFBARF sued the city of Lafayette, California for blocking a housing development. The group referred to this as part of their "Sue the Suburbs" campaign, creating a website under this name.[5] The suit claimed that under California's Housing Accountability Act, the Lafayette city council could not force developers to reduce the density of a housing project, since the project already complied with all zoning laws.[6] In a televised debate with SFBARF, Lafayette mayor Brandt Andersson argued the suit was unwarranted, saying that Lafayette should "keep multi-unit housing downtown" near the BART station.[7]

SFBARF has campaigned to take over the leadership for the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, claiming that the local chapter opposed high-density development, such as 2015's Proposition D in Mission Bay.[8] According to the San Francisco Business Times, SFBARF "believes that blocking dense housing near transit encourages sprawl," which is environmentally destructive.[9] The campaign was criticized in an editorial in VICE, which said that one of the candidates supported by SFBARF had a history of using "shady" activism tactics.[10]


External links



Jonah Owen|title=Pro-development activist group SFBARF agitates for more housing|url=http://archives.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/pro-development-activist-group-barf-agitates-for-more-housing/Content?oid=2907973%7Caccessdate=23 December 2015|publisher=SF Examiner|date=October 2, 2014}}</ref>


[11] Previously a prep school math teacher,[11] Trauss now leads the group full-time.[4]