Since March of this year we have been offering free counseling for tenants in our neighborhood. I am happy to report that we have helped a large number of our neighbors learn more about their rights as tenants, as well as offer peace of mind in a fearful climate of Ellis Act evictions.That is the good news. Sadly, we have learned that many are also dealing with bullying tactics to force people out of their homes, evading rent control laws in the pursuit of greater profit. The bullying tactics are overwhelmingly from a few realtors and from many speculators who have recently purchased buildings. This is happening in many neighborhoods according to housing-tenants’ rights organizations in the city. A pattern of behaviour has been observed over the past two years and has increased more recently during this time of legislative attempts to protect and halt displacement of so many residents. We want to alert you to some of the tactics and to let you know what you can do to protect yourselves.
We will have our next Tenants Counseling Clinic on July 17th from 11am-12:15
Place: Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center 660 Lombard Street (Multi-purpose room)
We will also help those who are applying for the Mayor’s Ellis Act Preferential Housing Certificate.
We have scheduled these clinics during the day in order to best serve those who are elderly or disabled.We can add a weekend or evening clinic if there is enough demand. Please let us know.
Much has happened since April, in fact so much that we have unfortunately, neglected this site.
Beginning in February, we started attending hearings at City Hall regarding Supervisor Campos’s Relocation Fee Increase legislation, which went through weeks and weeks of discussion until April 8th when it was amended to become effective in 30 days. As of June 1st, 2014, all tenants who are in their homes on this day are elgible for the new relocation fee.
See: http://www.sfrb.org/index.aspx?page=1463 for a definition and calculation of how much your relocation fee is.
One should also keep in mind- should you be offered a “buy-out” -that you would want to know the amount you are entitled to based on this legislation before negotiating any amount with a new owner.
The other very important update is that the Mayor’s Preferential Housing Certificate Progam for those Ellis’d is now up and running. See: http://www.sfrb.org/index.aspx?page=1460 for a brief explanation.
It took some time to get everything in place and some issues with the application have been corrected and simplified.
See: http://sf-moh.org/index.aspx?page=1259 Application and list of buildings covered in the Mayor’s Program can be found at this site. If you need to call, it is recommended that you first read everything on this website and ask specific questions. I am told that “Vanessa” is extremely helpful and for those who cannot print out an application or the list of buildings, you can ask that these forms be sent to you via snail mail.
On April 25th, poet laureates Alejandro Murguia and Jack Hirshman, and many other poets and musicians gave us images and song of displacement.The brick remnants of the original I-Hotel and the photograph of helmeted policemen dragging the last residents from the hotel onto the street, together with the readings of present day Ellis Act evictions, felt like history relived. The large room was packed with people of seemingly all the cultures that have lived in our city since its beginning. One of the first poets was a Native American man of several tribes, one of which was the Ohlone, the original people of San Francisco.
The feeling of “we are in this together”- although many of us entered the room as strangers-we left with a feeling of community and gratitude for the beauty of words and music.
Bird and Beckett bookstore in Glen Park hosted a panel discussion, SF Neighborhoods on the Brink, on March 12 before a crowd that spilled out to the sidewalk. The panel members, Sarah Brant an Urban Green Investments Ellis Act evictee, Gen Fujioka, Policy Director of Chinatown Community Development Center, John Avalos, District 11 Supervisor, and Alejandro Murguria, SF Poet Laureate and panel moderator, addressed the current housing crisis, city proposals aimed at curbing predatory speculators, and the need for tenant unity, commitment, and action in the future. Gen Fujioka announced that Urban Green Investments, a Dirty Dozen serial evictor, had withdrawn its Ellis Act eviction of sixteen tenants in North Beach. A spirited Q & A followed the presentations. Mr. Murguria, in addition to moderating the panel, read several of his poems, making this event a truly San Francisco experience.
Following our first North Beach Tenants Committee meeting in January, we learned that several people couldn’t make it because of evening darkness, as well as our more frail neighbors are unlikely to seek out information when it means traveling some distance from home.
We have been able to secure a room during the daytime at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and will host two “clinics” in March. The first session is this Thursday, March 13th from 10:45-noon. An attorney from the Asian Law Caucus will be able to answer individual legal questions regarding evictions-regardless of whether you are actually being threatened with an eviction or feeling fearful a notice may arrive. Tina Cheung will also be present to discuss housing issues. Counseling is free. No appointment is needed.
A second session is scheduled for March 20th, same place (Tel Hi) and same time: 11am-Noon.
Any questions, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Theresa at 788-2775
Our thanks to Chinatown Community Development Center, Asian Law Caucus, and Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.
Your North Beach Tenants Committee
March 3rd, 2014
“Eviction happens mostly to old people like me. It is an injustice.
I have lived in my home for 30 years. My sweet Josie passed 3 years ago.
I live alone. To be forced out is an emotional and financial blow to me.
We intended to finish the rest of our days here. Wherever I end up will
have a negative impact on my life.
If I resist to move it is because my life is at stake.”
(Photo by Melanie Young of KALW “Crosscurrents”)