Plan for controlling Mission District gentrification revealed

The corner of 15th and Valencia viewed from the rooftop of Valencia Gardens, in a scene from “3000 Stories.”

Changing neighborhood spurs community organizations, city government to draft gentrification solutions

The cultural diversity of San Francisco’s Mission District dates back hundreds of years. As a working class neighborhood since the early 19th century, the Mission has always been populated by largely low-to-moderate income households. Now, the Bay Area housing crisis has made the Mission District a last bastion of affordable housing. The area is attracting an influx of high income home owners and renters willing and able to pay market rate, which has ignited a flurry of market rate development. This hot real estate market threatens to remake the Mission. Families and small businesses are being displaced. The demographics of the neighborhood are changing, in a phenomenon known as “gentrification.”

Now, there is a plan to help curb gentrification of the Mission.

Collaboration leads to plan of action

Over several years, a coalition of community organizations and nonprofits, including Mission Housing Development Corporation, met monthly with city planners to grind out an extensive list of possible solutions and strategies. The result: “Mission Action Plan 2020.”

A draft version of the plan, also known as “MAP2020” was released for public review and comment on January 31, 2017.

The stated purpose of the Mission Action Plan: To retain low- to moderate-income residents, community-serving businesses, artists, and nonprofits in order to strengthen and preserve the socioeconomic diversity of the Mission neighborhood.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Chirag Bhakta

“…we need certain protections from what gentrification does.” — Chirag Bhakta

The plan focuses on several objectives, which, if fulfilled, could slow the displacement caused by the rapid changes in the Mission.

Since the boon of market rate development is only one of many factors propelling displacement, the authors of the plan acknowledge an “all of the above” approach is needed to effectively stem the tide of change overcoming the neighborhood.

Chirag Bhakta, Community Engagement Coordinator for Mission Housing, told missionlocal.org, “We might not agree on market rate development ever, but we might agree that we need certain protections from what gentrification does. If they’re willing to work on the solutions with us, then we are also willing to work on the solutions with them.”

Public comment on the draft of Mission Action Plan 2020 expires February 19 at 6 pm. The Planning Commission endorsement hearing on MAP2020 is on Thursday, March 2.

Information from missionlocal.org and sfplanning.org contributed to this post

RELATED: SF and Nonprofits Offer Plan to Control Mission District Gentrification

RELATED: Mission Action Plan 2020

Film production features Mission Housing residents

The film documentary “3000 Stories” explores how, amidst the challenges of today’s housing market, San Franciscans survive and thrive thanks to Mission Housing.

Affordable housing, supportive services changing lives of vulnerable San Franciscans; film documents inspirational stories

A documentary film puts faces on the human side of the San Francisco affordable housing crisis.

In “3000 Stories,” students from the City College of San Francisco (CCSF) Cinema program interviewed residents of Mission Housing Development Corporation. The tenants relate, in their own words, how affordable housing and supportive services helped them transition from homelessness and other desperate situations. These residents and their inspirational stories are windows into the soul of the Mission District and San Francisco.

Stitched together from a series of interviews conducted during the summer of 2016, “3000 Stories” explores how, amidst the challenges of today’s housing market, San Franciscans survive and thrive thanks to Mission Housing.

The interview subjects — a formerly homeless veteran, a senior citizen, single parents, people living with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, and others — are a cross-section representing the more than 3,000 people who reside in Mission Housing developments throughout San Francisco.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | 3000 Stories

Students from the CCSF Cinema program interview a Mission Housing resident for a segment of “3000 Stories.” Photo by Tony Bear!

“This documentary gives the audience a peek behind the walls of our buildings,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “When you meet our residents, you learn how affordable housing and supportive services make a big difference in the lives of our most vulnerable San Franciscans.”

Moss is also interviewed in the film. He explains the organization’s commitment to creating and preserving affordable housing developments and vibrant neighborhoods across The City. This commitment is the driving force behind the work Mission Housing has done since 1971.

“It’s not officially stated, but I believe the mission of Mission Housing is to be an anchor and support system for anyone in San Francisco that needs it,” Moss said, in the film.

Minimizing impacts of gentrification, while taking care of people

Pete Gallegos, a San Francisco-area real estate professional and native son of the Mission District, was interviewed for “3000 Stories.” Gallegos served on the Mission Housing Board of Directors from 2006 to 2016. He was Board Chair from 2013 to 2016.

Gallegos’ historical perspective explores the impact gentrification has had on his neighborhood. “When you are talking about displacement, some people think of it as a natural progression,” says Gallegos, in the film. “What’s going on now, is that people can no longer stay where they are, without feeling that they won’t be displaced.” He also relates how the “people first” values of Mission Housing are an important catalyst in the quest for equitable solutions to affordable housing, and the preservation of neighborhood character in San Francisco.

“When people put down roots, they take pride in their neighborhood, they take pride in their schools,” says Gallegos, in the film.

One of the central themes of the film: The important social and supportive assistance received by Mission Housing residents. This work is supervised by Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations & Resident Services for Mission Housing. “Being able to interact with our residents… and connect directly with them… is really important to understand what’s going on with the families,” says Contreras, in the film. “[This helps us] to be able to engage with them, and build that level of rapport so they feel comfortable in coming to you.”

Made in the Mission

The CCSF students who worked on the film were organized by StoryCan Productions, a production company created to produce the film and four 30-second public service announcements (also known as PSAs). The students who joined the production were chosen because of their filmmaking talent, their passion for storytelling, and driven work ethic. The producers were Aracelli Frias — a recent graduate of the Cinema program — and Zahira Lala Salma, a fourth-year Cinema student who was also the film’s director. Salma’s first-hand experience with homelessness inspired her to take on the project.

Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts was the site for the debut of “3000 Stories” on December 16, 2016. Other public viewings are planned.

A high definition version of “3000 Stories” can be streamed from Vimeo, the popular video-sharing website. The film has its own Vimeo channel, where the PSAs culled from the film are also available for viewing.

The students also created “Storefronts: Doing Business in the Mission.” This film examines the nonprofits and small businesses leasing the affordable commercial spaces in Mission Housing developments. The film explores how the commercial tenants contribute to the fabric of San Francisco neighborhoods.

SF mayor names Mission Housing exec to Treasure Island policy board

Sam Moss is Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation. He has served in various capacities with Mission Housing since 2008, and is active with several community-based organizations. Photo by Tony Bear!

Sam Moss joins Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors

Mayor Ed Lee has appointed Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, to the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is a nonprofit organization formed to oversee the economic development of the San Francisco neighborhood at the northernmost area of District 6. The seven-member Board of Directors, appointed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, is the de facto governing body of Treasure Island.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Mayor Ed Lee, Sam Moss

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (right) with Mission Housing exec Sam Moss after the ceremony where Moss was sworn-in as a member of the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors. Photo by Tony Bear!

Stewardship of a regional treasure

A nonprofit organization, the Treasure Island Development Authority was created to act as both the development agency and the trustee of the Tideland Trust for Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. Charged with ensuring the island is used in an environmentally and economically viable way, the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors create and manage the master development plan and make policy decisions critical to the future of the former naval station.

Board members also approve large contracts, and the authority’s annual budget. The full board meets on the second Wednesday of each month at San Francisco City Hall. The meetings are also carried on SFGov-TV.

“I’m honored to serve San Francisco, and look forward to providing an Affordable Housing- and Community Development-focused mindset to Treasure Island,” said Moss. “This is an amazing opportunity to ensure significant amounts of affordable housing are included not only physically but equitably as well.”

Naval Station Treasure Island

The artificial island in San Francisco Bay was used by the U.S. Government as a base of operations for the U. S. Navy from 1942 until being decommissioned in 1996. Navy operations ended there in 1997, although several federal agencies still maintain a presence on the island.

The City of San Francisco paid $108 million to acquire the property in 2007. Treasure Island is now open to the public and is home to more than 2,000 residents, commercial tenants, schools, athletic organizations and community organizations.

In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment project on Treasure Island and parts of Yerba Buena Island, with a goal of creating a new San Francisco neighborhood.

The Treasure Island Project

Construction has begun on the Treasure Island Development, a 405-acre redevelopment project that is a joint venture between Lennar Corporation and Kenwood Investments. The partnership is now developing as many as 8,000 homes, some offered at below-market rates. Also part of the master plan: extensive open spaces, three hotels, and 240,000 square feet of restaurants, retail, entertainment venues and office space.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is overseeing the project, which could take fifteen years to complete.

Information from Wikipedia and sftreasureisland.org contributed to this post

Mission Housing adds more affordable housing professionals

Aditi Mahmud (left) has joined the Housing Development team at Mission Housing. Veronica Green re-joins the Mission Housing Resident Services team, this time as Community Associate Director at Valencia Gardens. Photos by Tony Bear!

Experienced Housing Development, Resident Services new hires important to new affordable housing construction, tenant case management

A new year brings more staff members to the Mission Housing Development Corporation employee roster.

Aditi Mahmud has joined the Housing Development team. As Project Manager, Mahmud will help locate and evaluate suitable sites for development. She will also be involved in getting government approvals and drumming up public support for new housing.

Additionally, Mahmud will manage project design, work on financing, and coordinate with attorneys, architects, general contractors and others.

A graduate of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, Mahmud was previously a project manager in Seattle, WA for Vitus Group, an affordable housing developer.

“The mission and vision of Mission Housing is a perfect fit with my passion for creating affordable housing,” said Mahmud. “Knowing that I can literally open doors for others makes this work very fulfilling.”

Full-time resident services, case management for Valencia Gardens tenants

Veronica Green rejoins the Mission Housing Resident Services team, this time as Community Associate Director. Green will oversee programs, interns and service providers at Valencia Gardens. She will also provide case management, and help residents access community resources and enrichment services.

Green returns to Mission Housing after working as a case manager and an activities director for Mercy Housing. Prior to that, she was at Mission Housing for four years, working at the senior housing sites as a Resident Services Coordinator, and then Resident Services Program Manager.

“I look forward to working with residents, staff and Mission District stakeholders to create a supportive community at Valencia Gardens,” said Green. “My focus will be on bringing programs that will enrich the lives of our residents.”

“These new hires will add to our capacity for building more affordable housing, and delivering more services to our residents,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services at Mission Housing. “We look forward to Aditi and Veronica making outstanding contributions to our mission.”