San Francisco

Low-Income Tenants Stopped Their Eviction and Kept Their Rent-Controlled Homes

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Finally there’s some good news for a change.

San Francisco Community Land Trust & Mission Economic Development Agency successfully negotiated the sale of five buildings, actively under Ellis Act Eviction, spread across the Mission, SoMa, Duboce Triangle and the Western Addition. Thirteen lower income households comprised of artists, seniors, Latino families, and Filipino families, are now safe from eviction!

Here is the press release that came in yesterday:

The Land Trust & MEDA are pleased to announce the recent acquisition and preservation of five rent-controlled properties, in which 13 lower income households (artists, seniors, latino & filipino families) were actively fighting against their Ellis Act evictions but are now stabilized in their homes:

– 1353-3557 Folsom – a 3-unit building in the South of Market

– 70-72 Belcher – a 5-unit building in the Duboce Triangle

– 642 Guerrero – a 4-unit building in Mission-Dolores

– 380 San Jose – a 4-unit building in the Mission

– 1684-1688 Grove – a 3-unit building in the North of Panhandle

The Tenderloin Housing Clinic’s fierce eviction defense team represented all tenants in these properties; Raquel Fox represented the tenants on Folsom Street for more than 10 years, through two different owners. Eviction Free SFSOMCAN and the tenants brought public awareness and pressure to the owners to consider an alternate plan.

In April 2015, one tenant, actively engaged with Eviction Free SF, reached out to SFCLT to ask if we could try to buy their building to stop the eviction; this led to a larger community collaboration with eviction defense lawyers at The Tenderloin Housing Clinic (THC), South of Market Community Action Network (SOMCAN) and Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA). By August 2015, SFCLT and MEDA were in contract to purchase six buildings from the same owner, with financial interest from the City’s Small Site Program and First Republic Bank, which already had existing loans on these properties. On January 22, 2016, SFCLT and MEDA closed escrow for five of the six properties (the sixth property is still in process).

Just one year ago, in January 2015, Mayor Ed Lee announced his prosperity plan for San Francisco, which included a top priority to prevent the loss of affordable, rent-controlled units and the long-time residents who live in them, by implementing the Small Site Acquisition Program to help rent-controlled tenants buy their own buildings. Acquisition is the first step. Next we renovate and work towards stabilizing and keeping these homes permanently affordable for future households, with an option for residents to share ownership through the cooperative ownership model. After all, ownership is the only sure way to prevent a no-fault or low-fault eviction.

The message is clear: The City will not stand by while long-time residents get evicted by investors who “flip” rent-controlled units into TIC units, displacing lower income residents with higher income residents. We have a win-win solution for tenants and landlords. The Community Land Trust is proud to have been able to create a win-win situation for the owner and tenants of these five apartment buildings, and we look forward to working with other apartment building owners who want to sell to the nonprofit community to stabilize existing residents and neighborhoods, while ensuring these homes remain permanently affordable for future households.

Extra thanks to our funders for supporting this work through grants and donations: The SF Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development, The San Francisco Foundation, The Levi Strauss Foundation, Enterprise Community Partners, and many local banks – US Bank, Boston Private Bank, California Bank & Trust and the SF Federal Credit Union.


About San Francisco Community Land Trust

SFCLT is a membership-based organization whose mission is to create permanently affordable, resident-controlled housing for low- to moderate-income people in San Francisco through community ownership of the land. The Land Trust acquires existing rental buildings in which lower income tenants are at risk of displacement or rent-controlled units are at risk of losing their affordability, and converts the building into a housing cooperative in which the tenants share ownership, while the Land Trust maintains ownership of the land.

About Mission Economic Development Agency

Rooted in the Mission and focused on San Francisco, MEDA’s mission is to strengthen low- and moderate-income Latino families by promoting economic equity and social justice through asset building and community development.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

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