While the Mission Promise Neighborhood education initiative focuses on four schools — Bryant and Chavez elementary, Everett Middle and O’Connell High — the fact is all schools within the Mission footprint are deemed part of MPN. That why families at Moscone Elementary School, located on Harrison between 21st and 22nd streets, receive connections to free community services, too.

Being in the Mission, one issue of note for all Mission Promise Neighborhood families is affordable housing in what has become an ever-expensive neighborhood, six-figure earners moving in en masse since the tech boom.

The good news is that five Moscone Elementary families are now in safe, secure and quality housing: These are below-market-rate (BMR) apartments that cost only one-quarter to one-third the monthly rent of market-rate units in the same development. These brand-new properties feature many amenities, from rooftop terraces to on-site fitness centers.

Locating such affordable housing takes perseverance by families, all in search of a better life for their kids, the latter not wanting to leave their school, friends and, often, the only neighborhood they have ever known.

Some families have been living in cramped quarters, either several people in a garage studio or tiny, one-bedroom apartment. In fact, a comprehensive housing survey, taken of over 2,000 tax clients who came to MEDA last season, showcases the issue. (MEDA is the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood.)

Gauging by how many people per bedroom were denoted in the survey, the findings were that 21 percent of respondents reported living in overcrowded conditions (more than two people per bedroom, per HUD’s definition); however, the rate of overcrowding was more than twice as high among Latinos than non-Latinos.

While each Moscone Elementary family has their own story, they share a commonality of experience, as evidenced by discussions during affordable-housing presentations held Fridays at the school by MEDA’s Community Planning Manager Dairo Romero. He has already spearheaded these sessions seven times, afterward assisting attendees with the BMR application process.

An education is offered on the need to keep applying as a way to better your odds of winning the BMR lottery. Also, Romero explained the process of what would occur after winning the lottery, including paperwork required and the need to have one’s finances in order.

The five families having won lotteries and who have received keys to their brand-new apartments are:

  1. Heidi Deleon, now at Trinity.
    Heidi had been living in a studio apartment with her two children.
  2. Asenaida Escober, now at Five 88 Mission Bay.
    A master tenant had asked Asenaida to leave the unit.
  3. Maria Esquite, now at L SEVEN.
    Maria’s family experienced a no-fault eviction, so she received the City’s Displaced Tenant Housing Preference (DTHP), which helps the holder’s chances of winning BMR lotteries.
  4. Laura Mejia, now at L SEVEN.
    Laura’s family also experienced a no-fault eviction, so she received a DTHP.
  5. Edilma Castañon, now at Waterbend.
    Edilma is part of a five-person household that was living in cramped quarters.

The principal at Moscone Elementary is thankful students are now in much-improved housing, plus being connected to other free services available to strengthen families in the Mission.

Romero will continue to offer his presentations, putting forth the important message that “¡Vivienda económica es posible para todos en San Francisco!” (“Affordable Housing is possible for all in San Francisco!”)


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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“For all families, health starts with food on the table and a roof over our heads. It warms our hearts to see the smiles on the faces of these families in their new and secure homes,” says Executive Director Brenda Storey of Mission Neighborhood Health Center (MNHC). She was speaking in general about Mission Promise Neighborhood families, and specifically of the families of siblings Jazmin and Marcos Florian. MNHC has served the Mission’s Latino community for almost five decades and is a valued Mission Promise Neighborhood partner.

Jazmin Florian, spouse Antonio Chunux and their two children (photo, left) are now in a below-market-rate (BMR) apartment rental at Abaca on Third Street in Dogpatch, while Marcos Florian and wife Jessica Alvarez (photo, right) found affordable housing at Five 88 in Mission Bay. Both are brand-new developments featuring many amenities.

To make affordable housing a reality, it took determination by the families and a partnership between MNHC and MEDA, the latter the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood.

MNHC knows that a lack of safe, secure and quality housing can lead to major health issues.

Chronic Disease Coordinator Iran Pont explains the issue as follows: “Studies show that if you are under stress because you don’t have a home, then major health issues can occur. if you don’t have the roots of your home established, you can’t build anything else.”

That’s why MNHC’s Storey reached out to MEDA to provide affordable-housing workshops at her clinic. This formal request occurred during one of Mission Promise Neighborhood’s monthly referral network meetings, where the 20+ partner organizations share information and best practices around direct services.

Last December, Jazmin Florian attended the first workshop at MNHC, with MEDA Community Planning Manager Dairo Romero availing Latino families of the affordable-housing opportunities in San Francisco’s pipeline, plus how to get rental ready so that eligibility requirements can be met once you win the housing lottery. At this meeting, a distressed Jazmin shared with the group that her entire family was in the throes of an owner move-in eviction from their Bayview neighborhood home — a home where her family of four lived in one unit, and her brother and his spouse lived in the other flat.

Jazmin was made aware of how San Francisco’s Displaced Tenant Housing Preference (DTHP) for evicted residents could help her family win the lottery and find a new affordable home in the form of a BMR rental. So she and sister-in-law Jessica filled out the necessary DTHP paperwork. They then applied for BMR rentals at multiple properties.

Jazmin won three lotteries, but was initially denied because her family had not filed for the 2015 tax year. MEDA helped appeal Jazmin’s case with the developer, plus the MEDA tax team prepared the taxes for free. Jazmin, Antonio and their children moved into Abaca in July. Additionally, during the process of obtaining a BMR rental, Jazmin decided to become an affordable-housing advocate, even providing Board of Supervisors’ public testimony in favor of MEDA’s 1296 Shotwell affordable-housing development for seniors.

Jessica was a victor of five lotteries, but was denied at one project because of too high a household income (every development has its own minimum and maximum income requirements.) Their case for Five 88 was closed, but later reopened by Romero.

Romero states, “Our Latinos families who win the lottery need support throughout the leasing process because some developers do not offer bilingual staff. Plus, families don’t always understand what additional documents are being requested by the developers.”

Jessica was also counseled by Family Success Coach Yadira Diaz at Cesar Chavez Elementary — a Mission Promise Neighborhood school — to apply for a Hamilton Families housing subsidy that covered the required first month’s rent and security deposit. Marcos and Jessica moved into Five 88 at the end of June.

“MNHC is excited and eager to continue our collaboration with MEDA, with the goal of having many more Mission Promise Neighborhood families find their secure home in San Francisco,” concludes Storey.


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 city-data.com 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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Christopher Gil
Senior Content Marketing Manager
Mission Economic Development Agency
(415) 282-3334 ext. 152

Tracy Parent
Organizational Director
San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT)
(415) 399-1490

Feb. 10, 2016

MEDA and SFCLT Save Five At-Risk Properties Using City’s Small Sites Program
Work with MOHCD to save longtime San Francisco tenants from Ellis Act evictions

San Francisco, Calif. — The Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and the San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT) today announced the successful purchase of five apartment buildings from the Iantorno family, thereby averting prospective speculation. The properties’ tenants include an artist, a war veteran, seniors and people of color — 13 low-income households at risk of Ellis Act evictions, some after decades of residency. The Iantorno family admirably agreed to pause the process and sell to nonprofits.

Sellers Sergio and Paul Iantorno explained the Small Sites sale as follows: “As longtime owners of residential property in the Mission District, we are very pleased to be able to share in the City’s vision of preserving and increasing its stock of affordable housing. As a result of guidance from and cooperation with the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor Jane Kim, the Iantorno family was able to transfer five properties to the Mayor’s Small Site Acquisition Program. These sites were initially subject to Ellis Act proceedings; however, over the last nine months, we were able to iron out the terms for this transaction to the benefit of the tenants (and future occupants) of these buildings. This was accomplished in no small part through the collaboration and guidance from the Mayor’s Office and the financing role of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD). We thank buyers MEDA and SFCLT for their cooperation in achieving this mutually satisfactory outcome.”

Of the five rent-controlled properties, comprising 19 households total, MEDA purchased two properties in the Mission Promise Neighborhood footprint, 642 Guerrero (Mission/four units) and 380 San Jose (Mission/four units), while SFCLT acquired 70-72 Belcher (Duboce Triangle/five units), 1684-1688 Grove (NoPa/three units) and 1353-1357 Folsom (SoMa/three units).

All properties were purchased with financing from the City and County of San Francisco’s Small Sites program, administered via the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD). The program was launched as a pilot in June 2014, with just $3 million in funding. Since that time, the City has financed approximately $20 million toward saving small buildings.

Mission Promise Neighborhood Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng (photo, foreground) notes, “We applaud the City of San Francisco and Mayor Lee for their commitment to taking the Small Sites program beyond its pilot stage, and for using the program as one valuable tool toward solving the displacement crisis in the Mission Promise Neighborhood footprint, and citywide.”

Tenants at most risk of eviction are those living in buildings of fewer than 20 units. These smaller properties are the majority of buildings in many low-income San Francisco communities. One example is the Mission District, particularly hard hit by the city’s housing crisis. Per MEDA’s report, “An Assessment of Housing and Housing Affordability in the Mission Promise Neighborhood,” of the Mission’s 24,924 housing units, 17,195 are one- to 19-unit buildings. That is 69 percent of all properties in the neighborhood – the type of units that have seen the highest eviction rates in the San Francisco.

A press conference is being held tomorrow at 11am at one such building in SoMa, 1353-1357 Folsom. Tenants in this three-unit property have been fighting for 10 years to stay in their homes, enlisting the aid of Tenderloin Housing Clinic. The struggle was ended when SFCLT successfully used the City’s Small Sites program to buy the building.

Joining MEDA and SFCLT in this celebration of affordable-housing preservation will be: Mayor Ed Lee (photo, front left); an Iantorno family representative; residents Rene Yanez and Teresa Dulls; South of Market Community Action Network’s Angelica Cabande; Randy Shaw from Tenderloin Housing ClinicMOHCD; Paulina Gonzalez from California Reinvestment CoalitionEnterprise Community Partners’ Justin Chen; Fernando Marti from Council of Community Housing Organizations; and Tommi Avicolli Mecca of Eviction Free San Francisco.

Concludes Organizational Director Tracy Parent of SFCLT, “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.”

See photos.

Mission Economic Development Agency

About Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)
MEDA is the lead agency of the Mission Promise Neighborhood. 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. medasf.org


About San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT)
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. sfclt.org

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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.

Read More

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEverett Middle School combined empathy with education last night as underresourced, predominately Latino families from the Mission came together to share their concerns and traumas over San Francisco’s continuing housing crisis.

Held by the Mission Promise Neighborhood (MPN), this was the second such event of 2014. The first “Housing Town Hall” was held at Bryant Elementary School in March, with families sharing their traumas and asking for solutions.

The ongoing challenges faced by low-income families Mission families were corroborated by a federally mandated MPN community survey that was done in spring. This survey showcased the fact that 95 percent of MPN families are renters versus 64 percent citywide, based on a San Francisco Planning Department study from 2012. Also, according to the MPN survey, 85 percent of Mission families are spending over 50% of their income on rent.

Last night’s “Housing Town Hall” built knowledge of housing options for families and engaged them in solutions.

The evening’s agenda commenced with a warm welcome from Everett Middle School Principal Lena VanHaren.

Next were inspiring words from neighborhood activist Oscar Grande of People Organizing to Demand Environmental & Economic Rights (PODER). Grande asked the crowd such questions as “Who is living with relatives?” and “Who has fear of being evicted?,” with hands rising in the audience.

There was then a panel featuring: David Campos, District 9 Supervisor; Ken Tray, United Educators of San Francisco; Kevin Truitt, Associate Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District; and Scott Wiener, District 8 Supervisor. Each got up to address the crowd.

Tray explained that real estate company Redfin has found that no teacher in San Francisco can afford to live in the city, a startling fact.

Finally, there were a trio of bilingual sessions—facilitated by Causa Justa :: Just Cause, Hamilton Family Center and the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA)—on the subjects of housing rights, housing options and prospective direct action.

Fear was palpable. Anxiety was high.

MEDA Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng explains the need for this second event as follows: “ We heard myriad heartbreaking stories around housing at the first town hall. Families expressed stress over trying to stay in their neighborhood of choice. This stress affects their children’s academic performance. This second town hall was held as part of a movement to bring answers to families—around their rights, resources and ways to be involved in solutions for their housing crisis.”

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