top
San Francisco
San Francisco
Indybay
Indybay
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
SRO tenants losing hope in san francisco as landlords go AWOL
by Altamont Hotel tenants
Monday May 18th, 2020 10:07 AM
The close relationship between nonprofit and for-profit SRO landlords, real estate moguls, and the politicians who benefit from their campaign donations, is dangerous to anyone who needs shelter in this city and isn’t a wealthy techie.
Copy the code below to embed this movie into a web page:
One of the last affordable options for low-income San Franciscans are the city's long-term hotels, or SROs ("single-room occupancy" units). SROs keep an estimated 18,000 people from being forced onto the street.
 
Like nursing homes and shelters, SROs have become hotbeds for COVID-19, because we don't have the resources for protection gear, such as the masks London Breed has ordered residents to wear. Another SRO located blocks from ours, Casa Quesada, found that half of its residents and two staff members tested positive.
 
We write as a group of tenants of the Altamont at 16th and Mission, which is located in the zip code with the highest COVID-19 rate in the city. Once COVID-19 hit, our landlord, the non-profit Mission Housing, along with its for-profit arm called Caritas Corporation, went MIA. Fortunately, we as tenants managed to fundraise $3,000 in order to cover a very basic need: using the laundry machines in our building. We couldn't allow the disabled seniors in our building to continue putting their lives at risk in order to panhandle for quarters to wash clothes.
 
At the same time, some of us organized to get food banks allowed back into the building, because Mission Housing and Caritas Corporation suddenly stopped allowing in delivery services like Meals on Wheels. We managed to get Mission Housing to allow in food bank volunteers, but only after we contacted the press and the SF Department of Public Health. Our neighbors risk their health distributing food door-to-door in the building without adequate protection. During this time, Mission Housing management wasn’t answering the phone number they left for us in case of a building-related emergency, nor unlocking the washers and dryers to allow free cleaning.
 
Mission Housing uses its tax status as a 501(c)3 to front as though it is some humanitarian project, while it siphons off our disability checks and Executive Director Sam Moss, an ex-realtor from Florida, shows up to Planning Department meetings to support luxury condo projects nearby.
 
These condos and the wealthy newcomers that can afford to live in them, or buy them as investments and leave them to sit empty, serve to make the city unaffordable for us. Sam stands with them, instead of us, who pay Sam Moss’s mortgage. A mere $10,000 per year pay cut from Sam's $150,000 salary would cover more than a years’ worth of laundry for the Altamont’s tenants. 
 
What the pandemic has shown us is how much more the city cares about bailing out landlords than helping its low-income residents. It managed to come up with $1 million in relief for private SRO landlords, supposedly to go toward cleaning supplies.
 
SROs are a relatively stable form of housing that exists because in the 1970s, like today, many people were dealing with the looming threat of homelessness. We and our allies forced politicians to recognize non-wealthy people as human--forming coalitions among marginalized people: most of us are Black, brown, Native, Asian, disabled, elderly, queer/transgender, formerly incarcerated and/or veterans.
 
The close relationship between nonprofit and for-profit SRO landlords, real estate moguls, and the politicians who benefit from their campaign donations, is dangerous to anyone who needs shelter in this city and isn’t a wealthy techie.
 
Mission Housing is not here for us. We're making very basic demands of the city: 
Make laundry free for all of us low-income residents.
Don't leave us for dead by handing over our lives to exploitative landlords who treat us as less than human.
Follow public health protocols and offer immediate relocation to clean hotel rooms for all tenants.
Allow for electronic payment of rent. 
Make protective equipment available to tenants by distributing directly to us.
Implement additional cleaning staff and up their frequency, especially in common areas we are unable to avoid using like bathrooms and kitchens.
Add Your Comments
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

donate now

$ 147.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network