Residents find holiday cheer thanks to Mission Housing staff

Martín Ugarte, Associate Director of Resident Services for Mission Housing, and Veronica Green, Valencia Gardens Community Associate Director, inspect the wrapping on toys to be distributed later. Photo by Tony Bear!

Hundreds of Mission Housing tenants enjoy holiday festivities thanks to Resident Services team

Eighteen holiday celebrations spread among fifteen buildings. Hundreds of toys distributed. One thousand pounds of food served. Lots of smiling faces seen.

Every year, the Resident Services team of Mission Housing Development Corporation makes sure tenants get a little dose of holiday cheer. November through December, the sights and sounds of the season brighten the community rooms of several Mission Housing apartment buildings.

“Our goal is to make sure we keep our tenants engaged during the holidays,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. “The end-of-year festivities help to bring our residents together, and make certain everyone has something to celebrate, no matter their circumstances. We hope these celebrations and gatherings create an environment that will take away some of the stress and isolation that can come with this time of year.”

Contreras supervises Mission Housing Resident Services Coordinators as they take charge of every facet of the group celebrations. Coordinators manage the residents who enjoy keeping busy by volunteering to decorate rooms and prepare meals. The undertaking is a collaboration with the on-site management staffs of Caritas Management Corporation and The John Stewart Company.

Holiday festivities mean food

Residents in Mission Housing senior buildings, and occupants of the Mission Housing single room hotels, enjoy holiday luncheons. At the Mission Housing family buildings, residents gather around tables for a festive sit-down dinner.

Some of the meals are prepared and served by staff, others are cooked and served by resident volunteers. In most cases, the food and refreshments are provided by Mission Housing. Tenants in the SRO buildings dedicate proceeds from vending machine sales towards buying food for their group holiday meals.

Holiday Wish Drive gift program fulfills wishes

At the family building celebrations, Mission Housing kids aged 12 and younger receive toys from The Family Giving Tree, as part of their Holiday Wish Drive. The Holiday Wish Drive receives personalized gift wishes, and raises money to bulk-purchase gifts. Various donors also buy and drop off actual toys.

Mission Housing staffers make several trips to The Family Giving Tree warehouse to pick up contributed toys. Resident volunteers help staff with gift-wrapping. The gifts are put into age-appropriate collections. The Family Giving Tree includes toothbrushes with the gifts, as a way to remind and encourage children to engage in proper dental hygiene practices.

“For our families who struggle to make ends meet, these might be the only gifts the children will receive during the holidays,” said Martín Ugarte, Associate Director of Resident Services for Mission Housing. “This is why our team enjoys putting so much effort into our holiday gift distributions.”

Mission Housing seniors enjoy summer luncheon

The meal, catered by San Jalisco, was delivered restaurant-style to each diner. Photos by Tony Bear!

Mission Housing seniors gather at Alcantara Court for a three hour social

On Friday, August 5, the Resident Services Department of Mission Housing Development Corporation hosted several dozen seniors at a Mexican-themed summer luncheon and social.

Residents from Alcantara Court, Apartamentos de la Esperanza, and the Abel Gonzalez Apartments came to the Alcantara Court community room to enjoy each other’s company, and have fun participating in raffles — and even dancing!

The meal, catered by San Jalisco, was delivered restaurant-style to each diner. A lively soundtrack of Mexican music was piped-in to the room during the event. Some of the seniors invited young relatives.

Once lunch was served, Mission Housing and Caritas Management staff conducted a raffle for a wide variety of valuable prizes.

“Every summer we throw a little party as a way of showing our seniors how much we appreciate them,” said Martín Ugarte of Mission Housing. “These luncheons are also a great way for our residents to engage with one another.”

After lunch and dessert was served the music was turned up a little louder. Some of the residents kicked-up their heels and brought some merriment to the gathering.

Rich Sorro kids attend Warriors Read to Achieve event

Marcía Contreras (right) of Mission Housing arranged for residents from the Rich Sorro Apartments to be among the dozens of kids at the Warriors Reading Time Out

Warriors Read to Achieve Time Out brings the joy of reading to Mission Bay area children

On Wednesday, August 3, the Mission Bay branch of the San Francisco Public Library was the venue for a Warriors Read to Achieve Reading Time Out, sponsored by Ross Stores. The event supported the Summer Stride SF tipoff. Several Mission Housing residents from the Rich Sorro Apartments were among the dozens of kids who huddled around Warriors alumni player and team Community Ambassador Adonal Foyle to read aloud from his children’s book “Too-Tall Foyle Finds His Game” and other titles.

After the reading, Foyle led the students through the Warrior Read to Achieve pledge, which encourages kids to read every day and learn about new and interesting topics. Every student received a Read to Achieve t-shirt, and Ross Stores provided each a new book to enjoy at home.

The Warriors Read to Achieve Reading Program is a year-round child literacy program designed to help young people develop a life-long love for reading through read rallies and other exciting literacy activities. Elementary schools, public library systems and local youth agencies all partner with the Warriors on the program, which is sponsored by Ross Dress For Less.

Warriors players bring the joy of reading year-round to Bay Area children through monthly Reading Time Outs, Reading & Learning Centers and other exciting literacy activities. The Warriors’ highly acclaimed child literacy program expands each year and now reaches thousands throughout the Bay Area.

San Francisco Public Library plays an important role in the summer when schools are closed by providing safe spaces and learning activities for school-age kids. The library’s Summer Stride: Read. Create. Explore. program has encouraged more than 12,000 students to track their reading time, and to visit the library.

Comcast connects Mission seniors

Several dozen Mission Housing residents are now connected to the internet at a reduced rate, thanks to Comcast

A free event held May 6th in the community room of Valencia Gardens was staged to help qualifying seniors sign-up for “Internet Essentials,” the pilot program launched by Comcast in 2015. The program provides seniors with basic access to the World Wide Web for $9.95 a month.

The seniors who qualified were aged 62 or older, receive qualifying federal and/or state public assistance and were without previous connection to Comcast.

“For many of our residents, having access to the internet is how they put their minds to work and keep in touch with the world around them, and with family,” said Marcía Contreras, head of Resident Services for Mission Housing Development Corporation. “This is another way we at Mission Housing work hard to always be improving the quality of life for our residents.”

Employees from other sponsors of the event also provided the manpower needed to interview each resident and help get their applications filled out. Then, Comcast employees volunteered their time to represent the seniors on the phone with the Comcast call center to complete the enrollment.

While the registrations were being completed, the residents enjoyed free catered lunch, Bingo games with prizes, and karaoke.

At the end of the registration event ten laptops were raffled off, as were “Opportunity Cards” — Comcast gift cards that provided free internet service for six months.

The event was co-sponsored by SF Connected, a program of the SF Department of Aging and Adult Services. SF Connected provides free computer training at various sites around San Francisco. Also sponsoring was Community Living Campaign, a program dedicated to reducing isolation other barriers to aging populations and the disabled.

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