The Mission District has served for decades as the vibrant epicenter of the San Francisco Bay Area’s Latino community. The Mission District faces the challenges associated with neighborhoods characterized by poverty and gentrification. The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), founded in 1973, has become a national model for place-based prenatal-to-career strategies designed to “build Latino prosperity, community ownership, and civic power.” For the people who live in the Mission District, MEDA has been a lifeline, providing access to stable housing, affordable childcare, afterschool programs, mental health support, financial capability coaching, small business loans, and a host of other services.

EdRedesign documented MEDA’s development and impact in this case study, authored by Lynne Sacks and Michelle Sedaca, that highlights the strategic steps that propelled MEDA’s growth into one of the leading examples of how place-based collaboration can change the life trajectories of local residents while maintaining the culture and heritage of the community.

The case aims to help community leaders, policy makers, and practitioners understand the prenatal-to-career infrastructure MEDA has built, the impact it has had, and how to replicate the core practices within different local contexts.

Read the highlights

Read the case

Puntos destacados en Español

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Co-authored by:
by Director, Mission Promise Neighborhood Richard Raya
MEDA CEO Luis Granados

(NOTE: Read eight-page report on which this blog is based here.)

Asset building is in MEDA’s organizational DNA — and we’re proud that it’s part of our origin story, which began 46 years ago.

But our future is in collective impact with partners. 

To resist and, ultimately, reverse the tidal wave of gentrification in San Francisco, MEDA moved beyond providing direct services and added an equity lens that focused on placekeeping for a community of color. 

Pivoting to reflect new challenges
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a five-year, $30 million Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) grant to MEDA so that it could work with 20 community partners to close the academic achievement gap for Latino students in San Francisco’s Mission District. As a result of becoming a backbone organization for this community-wide collective-impact initiative, MEDA began to double in size. Our nonprofit rapidly pivoted from being a direct-services provider to tackling community-development work as a means to proactively responding to the pressures facing the community, from rising income inequality to rapid gentrification to anti-immigrant policies. 

For students to succeed, MEDA’s premise was that their families needed to have the tools to move out of poverty, complemented by affordable places to live and the fostering of political power to affect systems change.

The strategy also called for the array of community organizations providing support services in the neighborhood to band together, so that the scale of the solution began to match the scale of the problem.

This pivot in work led to the creation of:
The MEDA Community Real Estate team, which is preserving and producing almost 1,200 units of affordable housing in the Mission, in just five years since the program’s inception;
Permanently affordable commercial spaces for nonprofits and community-serving retail in the Mission, with 100,000 square feet to date;
Fondo Adelante, a small-business lending arm that is now a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), having in five years disbursed $2.5 million to small-business owners unable to access capital from traditional lenders;
Mission Adelante, a 501 (c)(4) advocacy affiliate of MEDA able to endorse or oppose candidates based on whether they have our community’s best interests at heart;
The California Promise Neighborhoods Network (CPNN) to build the impact of Promise Neighborhoods statewide; and
Leadership development and advocacy opportunities, resulting in parents organizing for political power for systems change, such as the need for community-centered schools, more City funding for affordable housing and limits on market-rate development in the Mission.

Where we are now: A focus on MPN accomplishments
To close the achievement gap for Latino students in the Mission, 20 partners agreed to a cradle-to-career continuum of wraparound services, a common agenda and shared measurement. Based on the theory that economic stability for families will lead to improved outcomes in school, this two-generation approach now serves families at nine K-12 public schools, three early learning centers and 11 family child care providers — connecting families to services, supporting students and guardians. Results-Based Accountability is collectively used to define and measure outcomes.

The scale of this collective impact initiative is unprecedented:

  • 20,873 individuals served across all MPN programs since 2013.
  • 9,893 below-market-rate (BMR) housing applications completed for 2,850 families since 2015.
  • More than 6,458 referrals across the partner network since 2014, connecting families to jobs, health care, legal services and more.

The results have been promising indeed:

  • Families reporting a medical home for children age 0-5 increased from 61 percent in 2016 to 80 percent in 2018.
  • Preschool slots are now available for 100 percent of subsidy-eligible children in the Mission.
  • 5-year olds who tested as Kinder-ready increased from 25 percent in 2015 to 45 percent in 2018.
  • Students testing at or above grade-level in Eighth-Grade Math increased from 30.2 percent in 2015 to 41.8 percent in 2018.
  • Students testing at or above grade-level in Eighth-Grade English Language Arts increased from 22.1 percent in 2013 to 36.2 percent in 2018.
  • High school graduation rates at target high school increased from 68 percent in 2012 to 89 percent in 2018, exceeding the overall district rate.

Our opportunity
MEDA, with its new lines of work, and service-provider partners in the Mission have invested in aligning their work around a common set of goals, and that collective work is now bearing fruit – in improved outcomes for students and families, as well as in greater capacity for organizations on the ground. We have an opportunity to leverage what we have learned, and the momentum gained, to support families who are vulnerable to the continuing displacement pressures during this housing crisis and are under increasing pressure from anti-immigrant policies by the federal government. 

But the funding for much of this infrastructure is set to end in less than a year. 

The risk to or community
MPN funding ends June 30, 2020, when the current federal grant sunsets. The California Promise Neighborhoods Act of 2019 (SB 686), which MPN families helped to create and champion at the capitol in Sacramento, would create a new program to award competitive grants to 20 Promise Neighborhoods across the state. The bill has been approved by the full Senate and the Assembly Education Committee, but is currently being held until next year, at the Governor’s request. If this bill is successful and approved in July 2020, the state funding could eventually help MPN; however, the funding would be too late to cover MPN’s operating costs between July 1, 2020 and time to full implementation of the new grant program. 

We are now seeking both stop-gap and ongoing funding from alternative sources. MPN partners have invested in building infrastructure that makes the alignment of our work possible. Losing funding means not just losing valuable services to students and families in the Mission, it also means the loss of the multiplier effect of many organizations complementing one another’s strengths during a time when they are needed the most. 

How the money is spent
It costs $3.5 million per year to operate MPN. The majority of the funding is allocated to community partners (43 percent) and staffing the backbone infrastructure (43 percent). The loss of this infrastructure at this moment in time would have a devastating impact on the community’s families, schools and integrated network of service providers. 

Here is how the majority of monies are allocated:


MPN-Funded: $1.5M
Felton Institute

Good Samaritan Family Resource Center Homeless Prenatal

Instituto Familiar de la Raza

Jamestown Community Center

La Raza Centro Legal

Mission Graduates

Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. Mission Neighborhood Health Center Nurse-Midwives of SFZGH

Parents for Public Schools

Seven Teepees

SFUSD—Early Education Department Support for Families

Tandem, Partners in Early Learning

YMCA Urban Services

Backbone Support Personnel: $1.5M
Promise Neighborhood Director

Associate Director

K-12 Program Manager

Early Learning Program Manager

Family Support Program Manager School-Based K-12 Family Success Coaches (8) Early Learning Family Success Coaches (3) Administrative Coordinator

Institutional Partners
Children’s Council of San Francisco

Department of Children, Youth and Their Families

First 5 San Francisco

San Francisco Department of Public Health

San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing & Community Development

San Francisco Office of Early Care and Education

San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development

San Francisco Unified School District San Francisco Office of the Mayor

We must keep this momentum going as an anti-poverty strategy. Data sharing, collaboration, accountability to results: Promise Neighborhoods are the embodiment of what we call “good government.” It’s time for this type of initiative to move beyond being simply a boutique operation for select communities, and for it to become the normal way that government delivers services and strengthens underserved communities. As we all prepare for the biggest election of our lifetime in 2020, we should highlight the need for a more-just society. 

Now is the time for bold equity initiatives — based on proven models.

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Blogby MEDA Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng
Contributed to by MEDA Senior Project Manager Elaine Yee, 
Mission Promise Neighborhood Program Manager Liz Cortez and MEDA Financial Capability Coach Teresa Garcia

Most parents know that finding quality care and education for your child is not easy. For immigrant, working families of the Mission Promise Neighborhood, it’s even more challenging, as showcased by the erroneous ICE raid at partner agency Good Samaritan Family Resource Center on Jan. 26. Turns out ICE was actually looking for somebody next door, but they nevertheless created an atmosphere of fear that morning for parents simply dropping off their children.

Finding quality care is particularly tough for those with infants and toddlers, where the demand for affordable quality care greatly outstrips the demand. Securing that care near home would be a dream come true.

For MEDA, early care and education is critical not just for our parents who daily come in through our doors — and Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) partners’ doors. Early care and education is also an important means of livelihood for a significant portion of the women business owners we serve.  For these home-based licensed child care providers, the housing eviction crisis has meant the loss of a home and a business in one fell swoop. We share the City of San Francisco’s vision for early care because it makes perfect academic and economic sense for our families.

Part of the reason for MEDA’s establishment of a Community Real Estate team was to rebuild the pipeline for affordable housing in the Mission and to deepen the community assets in that neighborhood. Being the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood helped MEDA to realize the critical importance of early child development and for each of our 100 percent affordable, family-housing properties that we have been awarded by the City, I have purposely placed such services as part of the programming.

I have also directly advocated that as part of our lead role for the Mission Action Plan 2020, planning code and city incentives be established so that market-rate developers also meet the need for on-site early care and education in the neighborhood.

According to the San Francisco Early Care and Education Needs Assessment for 2012-2013, there are 4,100 children ages zero to five in the Mission. Approximately 2,300 are infants and toddlers (ages zero to two) and 1,800 are of preschool age (ages three to five). There is a huge disparity in the capacity to serve those infants and toddlers: There are 250 licensed family child care and center slots available, leaving 2,050 infants and toddlers without access to a formal licensed program.

The preschool population, on the other hand, has more access to slots. Of the 1,800 preschool-age children, the Mission has the capacity to serve 1,300. November 2016  data from the San Francisco Children’s Council shows that 351 children ages zero to five were waiting for an opportunity to access an early care and education program. The number of children on the list does not include all families that are eligible, just the number of families that are aware of the San Francisco Child Care Connection (SF3C) and continue to stay active on that list. In fact, in 2012, there were 224 available subsides for infants and toddlers in the Mission, but the number of eligible families was just 853 (earnings below 70 percent of the State Median Income). The difference in unmet need for eligible children was 629 (74 percent).

Strategies at 2060 Folsom and 1990 Folsom
The first 100 percent affordable-housing development that was awarded to MEDA by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) was 2060 Folsom, which will offer 127 units for families, including 20 percent set aside for transitional-aged youth.

As part of our proposal with our co-developer Chinatown CDC, I intentionally incorporated MPN’s vision of taking Mission children and youth on a cradle-to-college-to-career continuum. The plan was to couple services from Mission Neighborhood Center’s zero to three programs with Good Samaritan Family Resource Center’s pre-K work — a seamless bridge for the creation of a zero five child development center. The goal is eight infant, 12 toddler and 24 pre-school slots. To best meet these two agencies’ requirements to maximize services, MEDA staff has been collaborating carefully with these partners so that their needs will be met before ever coming into the building.

Knowing that we need more slots than the facility-based care could provide, and in keeping with MEDA’s work supporting child care businesses, we have designed a pair of two-bedroom residential units for a combination home-work space which will open out to a private courtyard for these estimated six to 12 kids.

Jamestown Community Center, a longtime provider of after-school programs, will also be moving its headquarters to the ground floor of the housing. PODER, which will also relocate its offices to the site, offers a youth component. This organization fought long and hard for the brand-new park that will anchor the 260 Folsom development.

Mirroring the strategy at 2060 Folsom, MEDA later submitted its RFP for nearby 143-unit 1990 Folsom, with the idea of incorporating early care and education services also part of the proposal. MOHCD awarded MEDA this project in September 2016.

The property at 1990 Folsom addresses the neighborhood’s substantive mismatch between supply and demand by dedicating approximately 3,000 square feet of space at the ground floor for a child-development center to be jointly managed by Mission Neighborhood Centers and Good Samaritan Family Resource Center. Additionally, there will once again be two units set aside for tenants running a childcare business, for a combined total of six to 12 children.

Looking forward
As 2017 begins, my Community Real Estate team will continue to strategize with MEDA’s Business Development team, MPN staff and partners, as a means to provide updates from various areas of expertise and then shape the future development of early care and education facilities. We are hoping to place home-based providers in some of our smaller apartment buildings acquired through the Small Sites Program, so that they can be embedded in the community.

Also, MEDA aims to align with the vision of San Francisco’s Office of Early Care and Education (OECE), created in 2012 and headed by Director September Jarrett. Community Real Estate and MPN have been having discussions with OECE to make sure that all developments are in synch with the agency’s goal, which is as follows:

OCEC is charged with aligning and coordinating federal, state and local funding streams to improve access to high quality early care and education for children zero to five, to address the needs of the early care and education workforce, and to build early care and education system capacity.

Topics of discussion include learning more about lease-up process for child care providers and more. It’s all about ironing out the process.

I know this is essential as we move forward to ensure that all Mission children have access to early learning/child care programs.


About Mission Promise Neighborhood

The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.

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June is HUD’s first-ever “National Healthy Homes Month,” but a dearth of affordable housing is translating to stress-related health issues being the norm for the historically underserved families of the Mission Promise Neighborhood. It’s definitely anxiety creating when you spend over 50 percent of your household income on an apartment in San Francisco, as is the case for the majority of these families.

Such health issues also adversely affect the well-being of these households’ children, putting them at risk of difficulty bonding, lower vocabulary skills, increased behavioral problems, and delays in school readiness and overall academic achievement.

The numbers tell the story
A recent Smart Asset analysis of the most-expensive rental markets in the nation showcased that a San Francisco household needs to make over $216K to not be deemed rent burdened.

This translates to the impossible task of a single mother needing to work eight-and-a-half full-time, minimum wage jobs just to pay such astronomical rent. This is an untenable — and unhealthy — situation for low-income Mission families seeking economic opportunity, as they live in perpetual fear of displacement from their neighborhood of choice if they lose their rent-controlled apartment through no-fault eviction.

If current trends continue, the number of Latinos living in the Mission will decline from the 60 percent of the Mission population they were in 2000 to just 31 percent in 2025, according to a San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office October 2015 report.

Advocacy is needed. The community’s voice must be heard.

Genesis of Photo Voice project
To portray the health issues of the Mission housing crisis using an innovative form of advocacy, a Community Assessment for Affordable & Safe Housing (CASAH-SF) Photo Voice exhibit is in the works. CASAH-SF is preparing Mission Promise Neighborhood mothers with young children to record, via photography, their community’s concerns about the lack of affordable housing. The goal is to abet a City policy of housing first, thereby strengthening families. CASAH-SF team includes Shivaun Nestor, Dairo Romero, Ada Alvarado and Karen Cohn.

The goals are:

  1. Assess and diagnose families’ health and cognitive impacts with regard to the housing crisis.
  2. Identify community strengths in addressing the housing crisis.
  3. Recommend culturally relevant solutions for the housing crisis.

Leading the work
Spearheading this advocacy is Mission Promise Neighborhood Leadership Program Manager Laura Olivas (photo, center).

“The Photo Voice project is allowing pregnant women and mothers of young children to share how San Francisco’s housing crisis is affecting their health, plus the health and well-being of their children,” expounds Olivas. “The goal is to have six Photo Voice exhibits and then take these stories to San Francisco City Hall. Mission families need affordable and dignified housing in which to raise healthy children who can go to college and thrive.” The first such exhibit is slated for July 13.

As an education initiative, it is imperative that Mission Promise Neighborhood partner with families and create family-led spaces and platforms so that they can address the issues affecting the academic success of their children, like this housing crisis, and offer solutions.

Families must take charge of designing, researching, analyzing and evaluating the work. Disaggregating data, complemented by providing tools in Spanish, allows the very families being affected to engage in the conversation of the issues with negative implications for them and their community. These families can then propose solutions to the problems they face and, ultimately, mobilize around those solutions. This is vital, for when solutions are created by the community for the community, a sense of ownership is created — the core meaning of community engagement.

Explains Olivas of her role: “As a facilitator and curriculum developer, my job is to bring the tools and information families need to activate their inherent talents and advocacy skills. I do so in their native language, with respect and admiration. My background affords me the opportunity to connect with, understand, influence and authentically engage the families with whom the Mission Promise Neighborhood works.”

Such empathy for Mission families is what drives Olivas’ work. Born and raised in East Los Angeles, a Latino community that mirrors San Francisco’s Mission, Olivas was raised by a single mother who emigrated from Sinaloa, Mexico. The devoted parent worked tirelessly and selflessly to provide for her children and offer them a better life. The family was met with the challenge of maintaining affordable, stable housing, plus Olivas’ mother endeavored to create a college-going culture in the home.

Olivas now hears these same stories every day as she works to strengthen Mission Promise Neighborhood families. Photo Voice is a step in the right direction.

Zealously stated one Photo Voice project participant, “The power is in our hands.”

Words to live by.


About Mission Promise Neighborhood

The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.


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MPN Blog

A long-awaited vision became reality today during a groundbreaking ceremony for a new park at the corner of Folsom and 17th streets in the Mission. What is currently a large swath of concrete serving as a parking lot will now be transformed into a green space for the community, with a scheduled opening in 300 days.

A hundred students from nearby Cesar Chavez Elementary, a Mission Promise Neighborhood school, joined in the festivities.

This park was years in the making.

The history
For over a decade, the Mission Anti-Displacement Coalition fought for this park, with People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER) spearheading the movement. MEDA has supported this advocacy, which was done as part of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan of 1999.

As a grassroots movement, hundreds of neighbors have been participating in community design meetings and making their voices heard at City Hall. This included Araceli Lara (photo, seventh right) – a mother, grandmother and great grandmother – who was on hand at today’s dedication to be honored for her work to ensure the community looked out for its interests.

This met with success.

Construction of the park will be funded in part by a $3 million grant from the state of California. Features will include a playground, a fountain to honor Mission Creek (which is underneath the area) and a community garden.

Explained PODER’s Oscar Grande of the neighborhood’s work to create the park: “This was a community effort. Una corazón. One heart.”

The need
According to 2013 stats, 64 percent of the Mission’s 72,218 denizens are renters, all sharing a crowded 2.3 square miles. Renters often do not have an outdoor space, meaning parks are vital for residents – especially children – to have a place to exercise and get some fresh air.

A 2014 Mission Promise Neighborhood Survey found that the percent of children who participate in at least one hour of physical activity each day was as follows:

  • Ages 0-5: 69 percent
  • Kindergarten to eighth grade: 62 percent
  • Ninth to 12th grade: 50 percent
  • Out of high school: 43 percent

To better these numbers,  the lack of open space in the neighborhood must be addressed. It is clear that having parks be easily accessible to Mission families is a major component of creating a culture of health in their urban environment.

There are also issues of mental health. Gregory Bratman, a Ph.D. student at Stanford, ran a study last year to see how nature can benefit mental health. The research team first gave healthy people from the Bay Area a questionnaire, coupled with a brain scan, designed to evaluate how susceptible they were to repetitive negative thoughts (a.k.a., brooding). Splitting the group in two, half took a 90-minute nature walk in the hills near Stanford’s campus, while the other group walked for the same amount of time down a busy commercial strip. Once back in the lab, the survey and brain scans were repeated, with those who walked in nature now less prone to persistent negative thoughts. For those who walked down the busy street, there was no perceptible change.

This study showcases the power of being in nature – and of having urban green spaces.

Anchoring an affordable-housing development
This new park at Folsom and 17th streets will also serve as an anchor for a new affordable-housing development in the Mission Promise Neighborhood.

In September 2015, the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) awarded MEDA, the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood, and Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) the right to co-develop, own and manage the neighboring site at 2060 Folsom Street.

The development will solidify a collaboration of longtime nonprofits: Larkin Street Youth Services running residential programs; Good Samaritan Family Resource Center offering preschool assistance; Jamestown Community Center running youth-development programs; MEDA’s Business Development team training prospective entrepreneurs; Mission Neighborhood Centers providing infant and toddler care; and PODER, continuing the fight for environmental rights. Jamestown Community Center and PODER will be housed on-site, relocating from their current spaces in the Mission.

“This park perfectly complements our 2060 Folsom affordable-housing development, offering recreation opportunities for Mission Promise Neighborhood families right outside their door, so that they can be healthy,” states MEDA Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng. “This park is the result of year’s of community advocacy. By 2017, nobody will remember that this was once a place to park your car.”


About Mission Promise Neighborhood
The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working, and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.

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1988-01212016_CRE-Prop A Money Community Meeting Social Media_blog_640x295px

While trendy Valencia Street nightspots were filled as usual last Wednesday night with San Franciscans blowing off steam after work, a community that has been gaining steam for years met at Centro del Pueblo to engage in a historic discussion.

Thirteen community-based organizations – now under the name United to Save the Mission – collectively decided a plan of action with over a hundred residents. The topic: affordable housing. Specifically how the money from Prop A, passed last November with 75 percent of the vote, should be prioritized in the Mission.

The background
Prop A was the first housing bond passed in San Francisco since 1996. The total of this bond – put forth to address housing-affordability issues in an increasingly costly market – was set at $310 million.

Of that money, $50 million was earmarked for the Mission, the neighborhood hardest hit by the housing crisis. As proof of that statement, consider that a mere 7 percent of housing in the Mission’s pipeline is set as affordable, well under the City’s stated target of one-third.

report entitled “An Assessment of Housing and Housing Affordability in the Mission Promise Neighborhood” offered some specific numbers. This report estimated that 2,400 low- to moderate-income residents’ units be retained or replaced to maintain the Mission as a working-class neighborhood and Latino cultural hub.

The goal of last Wednesday’s meeting was to ensure that the community has a say in how this $50 million will be spent, as part of a plan to make the above happen.

The movement
This community meeting also represented three years of community advocacy and solidarity, ranging from street rallies and individual political actions to grassroots organizing and filling City Hall to the rafters to demand aggressive solutions.

MEDA, the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood, played an integral part by leading the creation of the Mission Action Plan 2020 (MAP 2020). A central piece of MAP 2020 was the implementation of an ongoing series of monthly meetings, since April 2015, that serves as a forum for City staff to directly request community input in funding priorities for affordable housing in the neighborhood.

The clear growth in the community’s power was then demonstrated last summer by the speed in which signatures were gathered for Prop I, the pause on luxury housing in the Mission District. Prop I made it to last November’s ballot, and while the measure garnered major support in the Mission, it unfortunately did not pass because the “Yes” side was vastly outspent by developers on the “No” side. Despite this loss, a movement was solidified.

This momentum of this movement led to a neighborhood having the impetus to put collective pressure on elected officials to allocate more funds to the Mission for affordable housing.

The displacement
The advent of this movement has been loss, real and anticipated, of a community no longer feeling they will be able to remain part of their neighborhood of choice. These feelings are based in fact, as the Mission has seen dire displacement of low-income and working-class residents (8,000 in the past decade, with the majority Latinos).

Those most vulnerable to housing instability are homeless individuals and families, very low-income people, those with children, transitional-aged youth (18– to 24-year-olds), seniors on a fixed income and persons living with disabilities. Many in attendance last night met these demographics. They came because years of action had led to their knowing that they will represented – that they now have a say in their future.

The options
There were four options presented to the community, with detailed explanations given for each and questions answered. This was done via small-group discussions, in Spanish and English.

Based on the group discussions, community members then cast votes for their priorities.

The community decided the priority should be to buy land and build now. The second choice was to buy land and build later. In third was the rehab of existing Single-Room Occupancy (SRO) hotels.

The next step
There is a follow-up community meeting next week to determine how to present last night’s prioritization to the powers that be at City Hall. United to Save the Mission will deliver this message on behalf of the community.

One resident of the Mission, Manuela from Alabama Street in the Mission Promise Neighborhood footprint, was compelled to come to the meeting out of fear of displacement. She explained, “I’ve seen too many of my neighbors have to move. They were all hardworking people who loved their neighborhood. They helped make the Mission what it is. I don’t want to be next.”

Manuela’s voice has been heard … as has a community’s.


About Mission Promise Neighborhood
The Mission Promise Neighborhood is a citywide community partnership that was created to support kids and families living, working, and attending school in the Mission District. It brings together schools, colleges, community organizations and community leaders to help kids graduate and families achieve financial stability.

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Calle 24 Blog 2In a neighborhood where the high-end restaurant is becoming more common than the once-ubiquitous taqueria, MEDA backs the creation of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District.

District 9 Supervisor David Campos, born in Guatemala and now representing the Mission District, was at the vanguard of pushing this resolution, which was passed unanimously by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors yesterday. The idea is to preserve the rapidly changing Mission District, much the way the city’s Japantown was created near Geary Boulevard in the 1960’s.

24th Street with Sun MuralSpanning fourteen city blocks, Calle 24 comprises the stretch of 24th Street bounded by Mission to the west, Potrero to the east, 22nd to the north and 25th to the south. A walk down this street today reveals a bustling scene, with mostly Latino shoppers filling the aisles of small businesses that cater to this community. Many of these consumers are the 5,000+ clients of MEDA, with 24th Street the main commercial hub for families of the quartet of Mission Promise Neighborhood schools.

“This is a chance to preserve the flavor of the Mission. Now, when an item comes before the Planning Commission, there will be an extra conditional-use process to specifically benefit businesses, cultural institutions and events that market to the Latino community,” explains MEDA’s Policy Manager Gabriel Medina.

Mystical CollectionsOne microbusiness in the corridor that will benefit will be Mystical Collections, at the northeast corner of 24th and South Van Ness and owned by Mexican immigrant Patricia Torres. One of the first entrepreneurs to start her business at El Mercadito, the microbusiness incubator at MEDA’s Plaza Adelante,  Patricia’s business idea was to sell holistic products–an idea that came about after her son’s adverse reaction to medication. Able to move her business to nearby 24th Street after only 18 months, Patricia then doubled her store size by using the business acumen garnered from MEDA’s free Business Development program. Patricia has since created a strong customer base and has hired employees. The creation of Calle 24 will ensure Patricia’s business remains strong and where she wants it to be, serving the Latino community she loves.

Concludes MEDA’s Medina, “The creation of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District is a proactive approach to addressing the needs of Latinos in the Mission. It challenges the notion that the Mission only opposes projects and that groups in the Mission are unable to collaborate with consensus.”

A celebratory press conference to announce the district is planned for Friday, May 23rd, starting at 2pm. Mayor Lee and Supervisor Campos will be at the corner of Harrison and 24th streets to cut the liston rojo (red ribbon).

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Watch the news video.

Interested in volunteering for the MPN Survey? Email us.

Correspondent: Leanne Melendez, KGO Channel 7 News San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — People, who live in San Francisco’s Mission District, may get an unexpected knock on the door from people conducting a survey.

The purpose is to assess the needs of low-income families with children in local public schools.

Monday at 9 a.m., several teams with orange vests and clipboards in hand were out conducting the survey.

“So, we’ve divided the neighborhood into zones so that we can go survey these areas, where there is a majority of families that go to our four Promise schools,” said MEDA Director of Evaluation Carolina Guzman.

Those so-called Promise Schools are participating in a federal program where the goal is to guarantee that children in the Mission have the necessary tools to succeed in school.

For the next five weeks families will answer a long questionnaire with topics ranging from health care, to housing and the quality of their schools. The families are predominantly Hispanic.

“This is about how to figure out, how to improve schools and our services so that children, you know, go to school ready and graduate and go to college,” said Guzman.

The survey is being done by MEDA, the Mission Economic Development Agency and funded by the United States Department of Education. The findings will help MEDA and its partners decide where help is needed and how to fund programs to support these children.

“The interview went really well, I think. She was very happy to share information,” said MEDA staff member Teresa Morales.

But, today not every family was willing to be so forthcoming. Some were not at home or didn’t feel comfortable participating.

“And, we had some other people say they would make appointments in the future for us to come back but they weren’t available at the moment,” said MEDA staff member Richard Abisla.

“They have a packet of information that they can leave, right away, so if you have any questions my phone number is in there so they can call me. But, yeah, we’re asking people to, ‘please hear us out a little bit and learn about the survey,'” said Guzman.

MEDA will conduct three surveys over the next five years to see how much progress is being made.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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MPN Surveyors Blog Hero Shot

The Mission District will be awash in a sea of orange starting today. No, it’s not that autumn came early this year. It’s actually the sea of orange vests and backpacks worn by the zealous teams conducting the Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN) survey of 1,000 households in this primarily Latino community.

MPN Surveyors #3

Bilingual duos will be visiting homes in a rectangular area bordered by Duboce Avenue to the north, Cesar Chavez Street to the south, Portrero Avenue to the east and Dolores Street to the west. This extensive survey was coordinated with Harder + Company Community Research, tapping into Vice President Kym Dorman’s advanced skills in qualitative and quantitative research methods.

MPN, a program overseen by the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA), is one of just a dozen such federal programs in the entire nation. The goal is to take children on a cradle-to-college-to-career continuum, based on results-driven data of family success. Ascertaining the issues affecting these families, via a broad survey, will help MPN better target services and address community needs.

States MEDA Executive Director Luis Granados, “While the Mission Promise Neighborhood Survey is federally mandated, it is actually something I have wanted to put in motion for years. To send out a dedicated team of staff and volunteers to ask 1,000 Mission District families about their concerns and issues translates to MEDA better understanding the service integration necessary to foster asset building in the community. This is a win for MEDA and the Mission’s Latino residents—the constituents we have been serving the past four decades.”

The first group left MEDA’s Mission neighborhood center, Plaza Adelante, this morning, fully trained and armed with surveys. Questions will be asked about children’s issues, nutrition, housing and fiscal matters, with all queries answered anonymously. While the federal government mandates that a consent form be signed, it is not tied to the survey, as the latter has no name attached.

MPN Survey #4Volunteers were found through community outreach efforts by MEDA staff, especially Volunteer Coordinator Leah Cerri (photo right). One such volunteer, a young Latina named Jennifer (photo left), was donning her vest and backpack this morning, ready to pound the pavement. When asked why she had volunteered, Jennifer proclaimed, “I am going to be volunteering five days a week for a month as a way to give back to my community.”

MEDA’s Director of Evaluation Carolina Guzman (top photo, center), who is overseeing the survey, praised volunteers such as Jennifer by stating, “It is an honor for me to lead this vital survey that will offer needed insight to the Mission neighborhood’s issues. The enthusiasm I have seen from MPN staff and community volunteers is uplifting. This cadre of volunteers is trained and ready to hit the ground running to gather the information needed. Our volunteer program has recruited over 30 volunteers, 10 promotoras (Hispanic community outreach members) and 15 youths to participate in these data-collection efforts.”

The MPN survey will take place through May 30th, so you may hear a friendly knock on your door this spring. Thanks in advance to the Mission District for welcoming these MPN surveyors so that they can gain a more comprehensive understanding of what is going on in the neighborhood. This is possible only as a joint effort between MPN and Mission District residents.


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