Public input sought on Balboa Park Upper Yard housing, Saturday

First large public community meeting for the Balboa Park Upper Yard 100% affordable housing mixed-use development to be held at Balboa High

Saturday, March 25, the developers collaborating to create new 100% affordable housing and community services on the Balboa Park Station Upper Yard site will spend two hours with community members sharing common goals, identifying challenges, and discussing solutions for the proposed development.

The meeting at Balboa High School will give residents of the Balboa Park neighborhood, and any other interested parties, a chance to weigh-in on various aspects of the development.

“As community-oriented developers, we are very focused on ensuring all community residents are equitably involved in the decision-making process that shapes our buildings,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation. “It is important for the entire neighborhood to have a sense of ownership in the Balboa Park Upper Yard development.”

Presentation followed by break-out sessions

The meeting will open with a presentation by architects from Mithun | Solomon, who will review a range of issues, including building design, use of ground floor spaces, and creation of open spaces.

Then, a break-out session will allow interested parties to address topics such as: transportation and circulation, building envelope and housing design, and community services.

“This input will help us assemble supportive community services that meet the diverse needs of the residents, as well as the entire Balboa Park population,” said Marcía Contreras, Mission Housing Director of Operations and Resident Services. Contreras lives in the Balboa Park area. “Our services will be shaped through community input and tailored by neighborhood-driven needs.”

Transit-Oriented Development is part of master plan

The Balboa Park Upper Yard housing development is part of the city’s larger Balboa Park Station Area Plan to connect, restore, and enhance the neighboring area. The Balboa Park BART station is part of a highly prominent and transit-accessible site where three Muni light-rail lines, seven Muni bus lines and multiple BART lines all converge.

Scott Falcone, a long-time District 11 resident with roots in the Balboa Park area, has been a consultant to Mission Housing since 2013. He is assisting with community relations and engagement related to the Balboa Park development, and providing technical services for the actual development project. “Our goal is to provide low-income residents with well-designed and well-managed affordable homes, and to help bring a range of positive improvements to the community,” said Falcone.

Complimentary food and refreshments will be available.

DETAILS: Saturday, March 25, 2017. Time: 10:00 a.m. to noon. Place: Balboa High School, 1000 Cayuga Ave, Room 152 (Green Room) [MAP]

MORE INFO: Scott Falcone or Aditi Mahmud, 415-864-6432. Email:mailto:balboapark@missionhousing.org

READ ALSO: Mayor’s Office selects Mission Housing and Related California partnership to build affordable housing at Outer Mission/Excelsior site

Know Your Rights handout, training empowers Mission residents

Staff and managers of Mission Housing and Caritas Management attend training to help citizens and non-citizens defend themselves against constitutional violations during ICE raids. Photo by Tony Bear!
Mission Housing Development Corporation | Know Your Rights

Mission Housing created a tri-fold pamphlet, “Know Your Rights – What to do When Immigration Agents Arrive at Your Door,” available in three languages.

Know Your Rights brochure distributed to Mission Housing residents, others; Mission Housing staffers conduct educational forums

Since January, 2017, U. S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement agents have conducted raids on immigrant communities in the Bay Area and around the country. Some raids have disrupted the families and households of citizens and non-citizens alike.

“Ever since ICE agents visited one of our complexes in January, we felt it was important to let our residents and neighbors know their rights,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation. “Everyone has certain basic constitutional rights, regardless of their citizenship status or the political climate. One of those rights is that a home is a sanctuary.”

Private property reminder

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Notice to Authorities

“Notice to Authorities” can be seen at the entrances of Mission Housing developments.


In the days following the ICE visit, Moss directed a “Notice to Authorities” be placed on the entrances of Mission Housing developments. The notice, crafted by attorneys, notifies law enforcement that no one on-site at a particular building has legal authority to validate warrants or other legal access documents. The notice advises that access to Mission Housing buildings requires a valid and executed search warrant, presented at the corporate headquarters, to the Executive Director, and only when he has legal counsel present.

Community outreach about constitutional protections

To help residents and neighbors of its apartment communities navigate encounters with law enforcement, Mission Housing has put a special outreach program in motion. Coordinated by Marcía Contreras, Mission Housing Director of Operations and Resident Services, the two-pronged approach was crafted with the help of legal professionals, and trained immigration practitioners from La Raza Centro Legal.

First, Vicky Castro, Executive Director of La Raza Centro Legal, trained the staff and managers of Mission Housing and Caritas Management on how citizens and non-citizens should defend themselves against constitutional violations during ICE raids.

San Francisco Immigrant Legal Education Network, also known as SFILEN, provided additional training to Mission Housing Resident Services team members (Chirag Bhakta, Aaron Bustamante, Veronica Green and Contreras) on the Rapid Response Network and steps to protect Mission District residents.

Armed with this knowledge, Mission Housing staffers are conducting Know Your Rights educational forums in the organization’s residential community rooms. The forums are open to anyone who wants to learn how to help protect the rights of San Franciscans anywhere.

Information at your fingertips

Second, Mission Housing created a tri-fold pamphlet, “Know Your Rights – What to do When Immigration Agents Arrive at Your Door.” The brochure details steps to take when immigration agents or other law enforcement go to a home. Sections of the publication include “If ICE Comes to Your Door,” and “Arrest Warrant Basics.” There is a list of community resources where legal aid or advice is available.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | red card

Mission Housing staff is also distributing a “Know Your Rights” card, which carries info about how to assert one’s constitutional rights.

Staff is also distributing a “Know Your Rights” card. The red card carries information about how to assert constitutional rights. And, the card includes a scripted explanation for quoting to ICE agents.

The forums and the materials are free of charge.

Keeping families stabilized

Mission Housing has also set aside $40,000 to establish the Mission Housing Family Stabilization Fund.

The fund will support Mission Housing families, and any member of the Mission community negatively affected by detention, deportation, ICE raids or other anti-immigrant actions. Examples of support would include but not be limited to assisting with rent payments and groceries if the “bread winner” of the family is detained. An application for assistance from the fund is being prepared, and will soon be available on the Mission Housing website, and at the management offices of Mission Housing properties.

“Keeping our families stabilized is always Job #1 at Mission Housing,” said Moss.

“Our community will pull through these troubling times only by coming together. Mission Housing will, by any means necessary, protect the rights of our residents and our neighbors.”

RELATED:

Know Your Rights brochure – English [PDF]

Know Your Rights brochure – Spanish [PDF]

Know Your Rights brochure – Chinese [PDF]

Notice to Authorities poster [PDF]

READ MORE: Housing, Legal Groups Outline Immigrant Rights When Facing ICE

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.