Sunset District

Press Release: Results of Sunset Forward Community Needs Assessment Released

From District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar:


Housing affordability, access to neighborhood services, and local businesses remain top concerns

The San Francisco Planning Department, Office of Supervisor Gordon Mar, and the D4 Youth and Family Network have released the results of the Sunset Forward Community Needs Assessment (Assessment).  Sunset Forward is the Sunset District’s community-driven planning process, whose mission is “to stabilize low-and moderate-income families and seniors in the Sunset and enhance community connection and quality of life by addressing unmet needs in housing, transportation, and neighborhood businesses and services.”

The Assessment found that many Sunset residents are struggling to afford and secure housing that meets their current and future needs, have limited access to critical neighborhood services, and have seen a continual decline in the health of their neighborhood small businesses and commercial corridors. The Assessment was informed by demographic research and input from more than 2,000 community members who “live, work, study, worship, or play” in the Sunset through virtual events, town halls, surveys, and online. Respondents represented a range of ethnicities, income levels, and age groups that closely matched the District’s demographics according to the U.S. Census.

“The Sunset has been a beacon for waves of predominantly working-class folks for decades, but more and more, families and seniors can no longer stay in the neighborhood they know and love,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar.

“The Assessment has provided valuable information about our neighborhood’s specific needs, so we can equitably plan for our future and ensure the Sunset is a complete neighborhood where diverse people can thrive. ” 

“The Sunset district is one of the largest districts in San Francisco, in both size and population. Yet, people still act like it is a suburb and not part of San Francisco. The Sunset Forward Community Needs Assessment demonstrates the gaps in the neighborhood, while highlighting the diverse and engaged population of D4. Now is the time to bridge the gap between data and reality.”  -Matt Pemberton, Director of Beacon Programs, Sunset Neighborhood Beacon Center (a program of Bay Area Community Resources).

Gum Moon/Asian Women’s Resource Center is invested in the Sunset neighborhood to ensure that families with young children and seniors can continue to thrive and feel safe and supported in this diverse neighborhood. Thus, it is important to address gaps in services in our Sunset community and advocate for appropriate services to be provided to all residents.   The needs assessment has identified needs and will allow us to collectively develop appropriate strategies.  – Gloria Tan, Executive Director, Gum Moon/Asian Women’s Resource Center

“Those of us who live in and serve the Sunset are aware of our neighborhood’s needs,” said Ben Wong, Executive Director of Wah Mei School. “We’ve long known that in order for this community to thrive, we must ensure that things like housing, childcare and social services are widely available to everyone. This needs assessment gives us the data we need to better address and serve the community that calls the Sunset district home.”

The Sunset District has a long history of being a neighborhood that is underserved and overlooked. This needs assessment gives credibility to support what residents and service providers have said for years. It is vital to have a safety net that is available to all residents regardless of their age or background. In order for a community to thrive people must be safe, supported and feel a sense of belonging, affordable housing, childcare and other social supports must be present for this to happen. ~Dawn Stueckle, Executive Director of Sunset Youth Services

The results from the Assessment will be used to develop the Sunset Forward Community Plan, which will include a set of strategies to address the housing, small business, and neighborhood service needs identified.

The public outreach process for the Community Plan is expected to begin this summer and the Plan is expected for final review in winter 2022.

To read the Community Needs Assessment Report and view a pre-recorded presentation, please visit the Sunset Forward website at  


Highlighted Results of the Sunset Forward Community Needs Assessment:

Housing: 64 percent of survey respondents say that housing in the Sunset is unaffordable, with 40 percent of respondents indicating their future housing needs will not be met in their existing homes but lacking the ability to expand. Young couples cannot afford to live on their own or start a family due to high housing costs and are leaving the City entirely. Seniors are seeing a lack of affordable senior housing and assisted living options that meet their specific accessibility needs, with senior renters on fixed incomes feeling particularly vulnerable. 

Small Businesses and Neighborhood Commercial Corridors: Over half of survey respondents say that restaurants and cafes need the most support from city government, followed by grocery stores/small markets, recreational services such as gyms, and personal services such as beauty salons. Respondents also cited rising operating costs, a challenging permitting process, housing affordability for employees, declining neighborhood commercial corridors, a lack of diversity in businesses, and an uptick in crime as concerns.

Neighborhood Services: Respondents indicated a need for more access to public parks and open spaces and expanding existing programs and neighborhood activities, rating community and cultural centers as the top desired neighborhood service. Residents would like more community events and opportunities for people to connect across ages and cultures. More services for low-income seniors, families and youth, people experiencing homelessness, and non-English speaking community members were highly desired as well.

Sunset Forward is a community-driven planning process with a mission to stabilize low- and moderate-income families and seniors in the Sunset, enhance community connection and quality of life for all by addressing unmet needs in housing, transportation, and neighborhood businesses and services. The project is a collaboration between the Planning Department, the Office of Supervisor Gordon Mar, and the D4 Youth and Family Network. Please visit the website at for more information.

Under the direction of the Planning Commission, San Francisco Planning shapes the future of San Francisco and the region by: generating an extraordinary vision for the General Plan and in neighborhood plans; fostering exemplary design through planning controls; improving our surroundings through environmental analysis; preserving our unique heritage; encouraging a broad range of housing and a diverse job base; and enforcing the Planning Code.

Supervisor Gordon Mar is the San Francisco Supervisor for District 4, which includes the Sunset and Parkside neighborhoods.

1 reply »

  1. My parents have lived on 45th Ave & Wawona for over 55 years. They can hardly take their dog out for a walk in their own neighborhood now without getting run over due to all the increased traffic since the Great Highway was “temporarily” closed supposedly to allow for socially distanced exercise during the pandemic since gyms were closed. Now a small group of loud mouthed activists are trying to convince the City to keep it closed for a “2 year pilot program” which is complete nonsense. It’s only sparingly being used the vast majority of the time. Open the Great Highway now before the traffic starts getting even worse once people return to work, schools are reopened and tourists return!


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