Commander Daniel Parea (back row, left) and Captain Bill Griffin (right) of the San Francisco Police Department visit with Mission Housing managers Julie Sontag (front row, left), Marcía Contreras and Bhanu Patel. Photo by Tony Bear!
Meeting with police leadership is part of transition at Mission Station
Friday, March 17, the new head of the San Francisco Police Department’s Mission Station, Captain Bill Griffin, visited with managers of Mission Housing Development Corporation. The meeting was an opportunity to get acquainted, and to discuss concerns and issues facing Mission Housing residents, and the Mission District at large.
Griffin, previously captain at the San Francisco International Airport Bureau, is one of three new San Francisco police station captains named by Chief William Scott last week.
Also present for the discussion was the previous captain of Mission Station since 2014, Daniel Parea. Parea was recently promoted to commander.
“We have built a great relationship between the police and our residents, under Captain Parea’s leadership over the last few years,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services. “We congratulate him on being promoted to commander.”
The meeting, which lasted about an hour, covered a range of topics.
“This was an excellent opportunity to learn about Captain Griffin’s viewpoints, values and priorities for his team at Mission Station,” said Contreras. “We also gained a greater understanding of how we can work in partnership at servicing the needs of our community.”
Officers from the Mission Station routinely visit Mission Housing communities like Valencia Gardens, bearing gifts and candies during the holidays. Residents often connect with officers on foot patrol.
“Our efforts to build collaboration with SFPD has led to more of our residents being comfortable with officers, which contributes to making our properties and neighborhoods secure. This meeting gives us great optimism that we will continue to develop a stronger working relationship with SFPD to the benefit of our residents and surrounding communities,” said Contreras.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.
Aerial views of the dormant corners being developed into affordable housing by Mission Housing – 490 South Van Ness (left) and Balboa Park Upper Yard. Photos: Google.
Mission Housing awarded two new contracts in as many months, to develop new 100% affordable housing throughout San Francisco; three separate multi-family rental complexes set to break ground in 2017 and 2018
November 3rd, 2016, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, also known as MOHCD, selected the team of Mission Housing Development Corporation and BRIDGE Housing to be the developers of 100 percent affordable housing at the corner of 16th Street and South Van Ness Avenue.
The development, known as 490 South Van Ness, will deliver upwards of 89 units of new family housing on a Mission District site acquired by the city in 2015. The residents will be low and very low income families, and formerly homeless families. Thanks to recent San Francisco legislation, many of the units will be dedicated to housing District 9 residents, or people living within one mile of the site.
Mission Housing on a roll
Now, with the award of the 490 South Van Ness contract, Mission Housing has three apartment complexes in the planning stages. In October 2016, Mission Housing and Related California won the development rights to erect at least 90 units of housing at the Balboa Park Station Upper Yard, currently two adjacent parking lots owned by the city and Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Public space improvements tied to the Upper Yard development are on an adjacent parcel owned by BART.
The 344 apartments on the drawing board at Mission Housing will be the most affordable housing units built in the Mission District and its neighbor, the Excelsior District, since 2006. The construction will be financed with a combination of city dollars (i.e.: the housing bond) and federal low-income housing tax credits that are sold to investors.
All of the units in the Mission Housing pipeline will be built using union labor. Once completed, Mission Housing will take the lead in delivering comprehensive supportive services to the residents and the surrounding communities. A variety of partner community agencies will have facilities and/or operations located on site. The goal: To help stabilize vulnerable residents, and propel them toward self-sufficiency.
“We’ve been entrusted with a valuable asset — land,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We are proud to have been chosen as the builder to activate some long-dormant spaces in San Francisco, providing jobs, housing and services where they are most needed.”