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New board members advance Mission Housing agenda

Irving Gonzales, Eddie Ahn, and Jon Layman (left to right) recently joined the Mission Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors. Photos by Tony Bear!

Mission Housing welcomes three new board members, adding important expertise and continuing careful oversight

Three fresh faces have been seen at the monthly board meetings of Mission Housing Development Corporation since late 2016.

The Board of Directors oversees the strategic direction, budget, guidelines and policies of Mission Housing. The addition of these people as board members comes at a turning point in the development of the organization. Expanding the board with needed expertise also fulfills a key goal of the Mission Housing Strategic Plan.

An architect, lawyers come aboard

Irving Gonzales is Principal of G7A, a San Francisco architecture firm. Gonzales has been on the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Chapter of American Institute of Architects. He has won multiple awards for affordable apartment designs.

Eddie Ahn is Executive Director of Brightline Defense, a public policy advocacy nonprofit committed to protecting and empowering vulnerable communities. Ahn is a nonprofit attorney who has served on San Francisco committees dedicated to social services and affordable housing.

Jon Layman is a partner with the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP. Layman has deep knowledge and insights on corporate and corporate governance matters, corporate finance and capital-raising transactions.

“Irving, Eddie, and Jon all have already had a great deal of influence on our work,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “The track records of these professionals show a deep understanding of the affordable housing business, and a passion for our mission.”

The three join continuing board members Rhosie Tolentino, Fernando Gómez-Benítez and Joshua Arce, who serves as Board Secretary.

There are still three vacancies remaining on the all-volunteer Mission Housing Board of Directors. Professionals with housing and community development experience are being sought.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Pete Gallegos, Toby Levine

Pete Gallegos and Toby Levine have reached the end of their terms on the Mission Housing board.

Levine, Gallegos, Wang reach end of terms

As these four join the board, three current members have reached the end of their terms, after many years of service.
Pete Gallegos, a real estate professional and activist, has served on the Mission Housing board from 2006 to 2016. He was Board Chair from 2013 to 2016.

Toby Levine, a veteran San Francisco educator, planner and activist, has served on the Mission Housing board from 2006 to 2016.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Shirley Wang

Shirley Wang served on the Mission Housing board from 2007 to 2016.

Shirley Wang, an attorney specializing in employment law, has served on the Mission Housing board from 2007 to 2016. She was Vice Chair from 2011 to 2016.

Mission Housing board members are limited to serving as many as three 3-year terms.

“Pete, Toby and Shirley have made outstanding contributions to Mission Housing, and to San Francisco,” said Moss. “All will be Board Members Emeritus, and continue as our special advisors.”

RELATED: Mission Housing Development Corporation Board of Directors

Mission Housing exec joins SFHAC leadership

Sam Moss presents his qualifications during the SFHAC Executive Committee elections. Photo by Tony Bear!

Sam Moss becomes at-large member of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition Executive Committee

San Francisco Housing Action Coalition, also known as SFHAC, convened the annual meeting of its general membership on January 11, 2017.

Among the items on the agenda: Electing new several new faces to the organization’s governing body, the Executive Committee. Among the new members confirmed to a two year term on the committee: Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation.

“Sam adds an important additional affordable housing perspective to the issues we tackle,” said Todd David, Executive Director of SFHAC. “Sam has Mission Housing doing exemplary work, and we look forward to his contributions to our Executive Committee.”

Todd David, SFHAC

“Sam adds an important additional affordable housing perspective to the issues we tackle,” — Todd David, SFHAC.

The Executive Committee meets nine times during the year. As the governing body of SFHAC, the group helps with fundraising, strategic plan implementation and building new relationships to help spread the SFHAC pro-housing message. Executive Committee members engage in the Project Review, Regulatory and Ballot Analysis committees of SFHAC.

Other Executive Committee responsibilities: guiding the SFHAC engagement in political campaigns and ballot initiatives, advising on SFHAC’s two annual big fundraising events and general advocacy. The Executive Committee also steers how the organization weighs-in on local, regional and state policies.

Now, as an at-large member of the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition Executive Committee, Moss will be active on the Regulatory and Ballot Analysis committees.

“SFHAC supports housing at all levels, so being elected to the Executive Committee is truly an honor,” said Moss. “I believe my background in affordable housing adds significant value to a typically more “market-rate” point-of-view. I want to make sure SFHAC advocates for affordable housing and community development, whenever possible.”

Also elected to the Executive Committee on January 11:

About San Francisco Housing Action Coalition

SFHAC is a membership nonprofit organization that advocates for the creation of well-designed housing for San Franciscans of all income levels. The SFHAC alliance of businesses, organizations and individuals facilitates collaboration on San Francisco housing issues. Members apply their expertise through work on three SFHAC committees: Regulatory, Project Review and Ballot Analysis. The Executive Committee of SFHAC sets policy for the organization.

SFHAC also sponsors many networking and informational events throughout the year. In 2016, Mission Housing co-hosted a SFHAC walking tour of the Mission District.

Information from contributed to this post

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, “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 and 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.

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