Skip to main content

SF families say new teacher housing site is shaking their homes and cracking walls

Neighbors of this construction construction project in the Outer Sunset neighborhood at 1360 43rd Avenue complain that the project, Shirley Chisholm Village, is causing damage to their homes. | Joe Burn/The Standard

San Francisco families say their homes are being ferociously shaken and are cracking inside due to the construction of a housing development for teachers.

Work on the city’s first affordable housing project for educators began in late September as part of a $105 million investment. 

When completed in late 2024, Shirley Chisholm Village will provide 134 affordable homes in the hopes of battling teacher shortages in one of the world’s most expensive real estate markets.

Neighbors say they support the project in principle, but when construction starts at 7 a.m., their entire homes shake like an “earthquake.”

One resident has demanded a structural engineer be dispatched to the site as “their house is shaking and cracks are forming,” according to a complaint lodged Oct. 5 with the SF Department of Building Inspections via 311. 

“We have to put up with our whole house sounding and feeling like the construction zone itself. Is there anything we can do?”, said a NextDoor user who lives nearby but asked not to be named. “I 100% understand the project needs to get done but this is going to be going on for at least another year and it's so disruptive!”

The site of the future Shirley Chisholm Village which will provide 134 affordable homes in the hopes of battling teacher shortages. | Joe Burn/The Standard

SF Permit expediter and local building knowledge expert Philip Lesser told The Standard that an inspection could “red tag” the works, halting it and causing serious delays.

“Anything that’s damaging neighboring property and potential safety issues will basically get red tagged,” said Lesser. “DBI will halt production on it and will potentially have to send geologists or structural engineers.” 

Lesser said that if houses are just shaking, then a judgment call will likely be made by inspectors, but “if it's starting to see cracks, that's something else.”

“MidPen Housing has maintained a great working relationship with the neighbors who have been deeply involved in this process from the beginning. We understand that while the demolition and earthwork activities are temporary, they are disruptive. We expect this phase of construction to be complete in January 2023,” said Alicia Gaylord, director of housing development for MidPen Housing. 

MidPen said they would be happy to speak with any neighbors about their concerns. 

The general contractor, Cahill Contractors, keeps neighbors informed of construction activities with monthly updates, MidPen said.

Cahill has provided direct contact information for the site superintendent, who can be contacted should any neighbors have construction-related concerns. 

If neighbors would like to receive these monthly construction updates directly via email or have concerns regarding the project, they can contact the MidPen team at

All homes at Shirley Chisholm Village will be subject to a tenant preference for SF Unified School District educators, employees and their families. A total of 34 units will be set aside for SFUSD educators and employees earning between 40% and 60% of the Area Median Income, with the remaining units designated for SFUSD to those earning between 80%-120% AMI. 

A spokesperson for DBI said the cracking home complaint was made anonymously without an address, so an inspector isn’t able to visit the property or contact the person who made the complaint. They confirmed there is a geotechnical engineer on site right now monitoring the works at its current stage. 

DBI says the department follows up on all complaints made to the department.

Joe Burn can be reached at