The bureaucracy of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the likely profit motives of a management company are once again colliding headlong with San Francisco politics and the city’s chronic housing shortage. And Supervisor Dean Preston is doing his best to accommodate a handful of tenants in a Western Addition condominium.
After the egregious missteps of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency in the 1960s, when much of the city’s Fillmore District was razed to the ground and the black population—and longstanding music culture—expelled, a series of co-operative housing developments and affordable housing developments sprung up to replace it.
The Martin Luther King-Marcus Garvey Square cooperative Apartments on the block bounded by Steiner, Eddy, Pierce, and Ellis streets was one of the first. It was a cooperative, meaning people paid rent and received HUD subsidies, but also earned equity in their own units over time.
The development won awards a decade ago for a major renovation of its units by developer Related California. But it appears the complex has changed hands from management companies several times in the past year or so, and now several long-term tenants – who were not primary tenants on the original contracts but in several cases continue to occupy units owned by relatives who have since died – are theirs Eviction notices have been served and they are trying to fight back.
Supervisor Dean Preston, who has worked for years as an evictions defender, held a press conference with Supervisor Shamann Walton in the courtyard of the King-Garvey Apartments on Friday morning to draw further attention to the plight of these residents. as Preston said the Chronicle last weekThe dispute with management company Kalco Properties is “classic bureaucracy that should be resolved by sitting down and finding out, not by calling the sheriff and going to court and throwing people out.”
Kalco claims that the five units in question are currently uninhabitable by HUD standards and are therefore not eligible for subsidies. Additionally, the company claims that the five tenants they are trying to evict “were never approved for occupancy or ‘co-occupancy’ under the unit’s occupancy contract, nor did they participate in the annual HUD-required recertifications.”
And Kalco, who has only been the record manager for a couple of months, may not be playing entirely fair. In the case of one tenant facing eviction and speaking to the Chronicle, Verna Jackson, a retiree who used to work in the juvenile court system, received an eviction notice after leaving town for a few days to attend her daughter’s graduate school visit in Florida – the notice claimed she had “left” her home.
“I wasn’t even gone a week,” Jackson tells the newspaper. “Who are you supposed to know where I am all the time?”
Another tenant, Muni bus driver Maria Hunter, tells the Chronicle: “My nieces and nephews were born in these complexes. My mother died in these complexes. Through the years [property managers] have systematically gotten rid of the original shareholders.” Hunter’s brother, a double amputee with both physical and mental disabilities, resides in a unit in the complex where their mother recently died.
Other tenants tell the Chronicle that the real motive behind the evictions is to remove low-rent tenants to replace them with higher-income earners who can pay more under HUD rules.
in the a letter of support For the tenants, signed by 40 prominent local black-led groups, supporters write: “Kalco has confirmed the issues are not related to non-payment, harassment or misconduct. Instead, it’s paperwork to ensure compliance with HUD regulations, something that should be accomplished through mediation and discussion, not eviction.”
The tenants claim they have made efforts to become legal primary tenants of the units, but have been ignored or turned away by the company. And it’s probably telling that this complex has seen a parade of various management firms being hired and then gone – four in the last year.
The biggest factor at play here that makes situations like this unique to the Western Addition and San Francisco is the story behind these HUD complexes and the families that remain within them.
“The Fillmore has lost too many longtime African American residents,” supporters say in their letter. “We demand that these evictions stop and that the parties work together to achieve compliance with HUD requirements without forcing long-term African American residents from their homes.”
A similar situation arose in March with HUD and a renovation of units at another nearby affordable condominium complex, the Frederick Douglas Haynes condominium complex on Golden Gate Avenue. As SFist reported at the time, Preston had stepped in after some tenants who had been sacked over the eight-month refurbishment returned to find their rent increased by 182% in some cases. The nonprofit that owned this complex claimed that because they were federally funded, they weren’t restricted by the city’s rent control laws for units not subsidized by Section 8.
Another neighborhood co-op development that has its own problems with deferred maintenance, the 382-unit Freedom West Homes proposed by Fulton, Gough, Golden Gate and Laguna a massive renovation project in which long-standing cooperative owners benefit themselves and also get new living units. The status of this project is unclear.
Photo via Google Street View
Sup. Dean Preston Wages Fight Over HUD-Related Evictions of Longtime Tenants at Western Addition Complex Source link Sup. Dean Preston Wages Fight Over HUD-Related Evictions of Longtime Tenants at Western Addition Complex