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Self-sufficiency focus drives new charity fund

The Resident Services team at Mission Housing provides a number of social and community services that help tenants stabilize their lives and eventually prosper. Photo montage by Tony Bear!

Donations to new fund earmarked for quality-of-life services provided to Mission Housing tenants at no cost

All of the people living in the buildings of Mission Housing Development Corporation are defined as low- to moderate-income, and many face significant challenges and difficult circumstances.

Every day, the team of Resident Services Coordinators at Mission Housing works to provide one-on-one case management, and make quality-of-life enhancements available to more than 3,000 people residing in Mission Housing buildings. Resident and community services help tenants stabilize their lives and eventually prosper.

Services provided by Mission Housing are born through community input and tailored to address the needs of each individual resident, each housing development, and the unique neighborhoods surrounding each complex.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Sam Moss
“Putting a roof over someone’s head is merely the beginning of the journey” — Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing.

Many of the voluntary social services provided on-site are the result of partnerships created with local service providers. These tenant-centered resident services stabilize and empower hundreds of Mission Housing inhabitants every year.

“Some of the vulnerable San Franciscans who come to live at Mission Housing arrive with only the clothes on their back,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “Putting a roof over someone’s head is merely the beginning of the journey. The real work begins once an individual or family is housed. Our goal is to help residents achieve and maintain independent living as soon as possible.”

“Mission Housing does whatever it takes to create a stabilizing environment.”

“Stabilizing” often means providing personal items like toiletries, bedding, clothing or other items to residents transitioning from homelessness, or, helping a low-income family access services such as child care, before and after school care, and food pantries. Resident Services Coordinators also refer tenants to health and dental screenings, and other wellness services that contribute to the overall well-being of each family member.

Once residents have been stabilized, the focus of the Resident Services team turns to quality-of-life issues. Computer labs & technology training, arts & crafts classes, health & wellness classes, life skills classes, community social hours and more are provided. Community organizing programs help empower residents to have a stake in their neighborhoods. Social gatherings help residents engage with their neighbors, preventing loneliness and depression.

Revenue from housing development rent is designated to address building capital improvements, repairs, general operations issues and mortgage payments. Since the extra mile of care provided by Mission Housing Resident Services comes from discretionary funds, applying the services consistently can be a challenge.

Now, the Mission Housing Board of Directors has authorized the creation of a special pool of money earmarked exclusively for Resident Services.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Marcía Contreras
“This fund is a way to channel what we receive from charitable people who want to support the well-being of our residents”– Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing.

The Mission Housing Tenant Health, Wellness and Community Fund will receive financial donations that will support creating stable, vibrant and healthy communities.

“An important part of our mission is promoting the self-sufficiency of low and moderate income families, seniors, and persons with considerable life challenges,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. “Donations to the Mission Housing Tenant Health and Wellness Fund will help us continue to provide accessible, much needed services to our residents, at no cost to them.”

“This fund is a way to channel what we receive from charitable people who want to support the well-being of our residents.”

The fund will receive donations throughout the year. Tax deductible donations can be made electronically via PayPal at the “Donate” button below, or via check sent to:

Mission Housing Tenant Health and Wellness Fund
474 Valencia St., #280, San Francisco, CA 94103

Sponsorships and ticket sales for the Mission Housing 2017 Gala, Silent Auction and Community Awards on September 14, 2017, will also raise money for the Tenant Health and Wellness Fund. Find out more about the gala HERE.

SF-Marin Food Bank honors Mission Housing food pantry operations

Representing Mission Housing at the SF-Marin Food Bank Pantry Appreciation Lunch were: (standing, from left) Thomas Caulk, Resident Services Coordinator; Eric Chak, volunteer; Aaron Bustamante, Resident Services Coordinator; Millie Liu, volunteer; Selina Wong, volunteer; Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services. Kneeling in front are Martín Ugarte, (left) Associate Director of Resident Services and Karla Perez, Resident Services Coordinator.

More than twenty years of food pantry operations recognized by SF-Marin Food Bank; food pantry staff and volunteers enjoy luncheon

Mission Housing Development Corporation has been recognized as having more than twenty years of partnership with the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Members of the Mission Housing Resident Services team attended the SF-Marin Food Bank Pantry Appreciation Lunch on Tuesday, June 20, 2017. There, SF-Marin Food Bank honored entities that have served as outlets for delivering neighborhood food pantry services.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Longevity Awards
The SF-Marin Food Bank Pantry Longevity Awards, presented to Dunleavy Apartments and Esperanza Apartments.

SF-Marin Food Bank collaborates with a network of 419 community organizations in delivering food assistance to end hunger and food insecurity in San Francisco. Important to the food bank’s effort is securing venues to host food pantries. Residences owned by Mission Housing — Dunleavy Apartments and Esperanza Apartments — were two of the fourteen developments honored with the Longevity Award at the luncheon.

“We are very proud to have Dunleavy and Esperanza be among the first affordable housing operations to partner with SF-Marin Food Bank,” said Marcía Contreras, Mission Housing Director of Operations and Resident Services. “Now, several of our family buildings, SROs and senior residences host weekly food pantries.”

Contreras invited three Mission Housing residents who volunteer at the weekly food pantries to attend the event.

“Our residents who volunteer to facilitate the weekly food pantries perform an important service, and we are very grateful to have their participation.”

In addition to food, SF-Marin Food Bank provides Mission Housing residents with nutrition-education resources and workshops, language and translation support, and food-safety training.

Fall fundraising event date announced

September fundraising event celebrates Mission Housing anniversary,  supports on-site social services, recognizes community vanguards

The Board of Directors and staff of Mission Housing Development Corporation today announced the date for the organization’s fall fundraising event.

Thursday, September 14, 2017 is when the Mission Housing Gala, Silent Auction and Community Awards will be held at the Laborers Local 261 Hall in San Francisco [MAP].

The theme of the event, “46 Years of Building Safe, Empowered, and Resilient Communities” will be the basis for storytelling about Mission Housing residents who’ve recovered from adversity because of the affordable housing and supportive services they received. Also recognized: Two community leaders who have been empowering voices in the fight to build strong neighborhoods.

“This will be an important celebration of our residents, our neighbors, our vanguards and our future,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We’ve come a long way in 46 years. By the time we hit our 50th anniversary we’ll have even more accomplishments to celebrate.”

Mission Housing on Eventbrite

Early bird event admission sales are available now, through May 31 at

“This event is our way of celebrating our successes and honoring those who make them possible,” Moss said.

Creating stable, vibrant and healthy communities

Funds raised from sponsorships and ticket sales will strengthen and sustain important Resident Services provided to occupants of the 100% affordable housing sites operated by Mission Housing.

“Our tenants and our neighborhoods thrive because of the free and voluntary on-site supportive services available from Mission Housing,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services at Mission Housing. “The funds we bring in with this event will help stabilize the lives of many families and individuals.”

Sponsorship sign-ups are underway now. For more information about sponsorship levels and benefits, download this PDF, or contact Tony Bear!

Several unique and interesting items will be available for bid in the silent auction. If you can donate an item to be auctioned off, please contact Marcía Contreras.

Buy event admission tickets

Push Yourself from Mission Housing on Vimeo.

Dozens give input on Balboa Park Upper Yard development

Mission Housing directors Marcía Contreras (3rd from right) and Martín Ugarte (2nd from right) lead a break-out group discussion at the March 25, 2017 community meeting about the affordable housing construction planned for the Balboa Park Upper Yard site. Photo by Tony Bear!

First large public community meeting shares information, solicits opinions

Saturday, March 25, eighty people attended a three-hour community meeting at Balboa High School. The event, organized by Mission Housing Development Corporation staff, shared details about the affordable housing construction planned for the Balboa Park Upper Yard site, a vacant property at the corner of San Jose and Geneva Avenues in San Francisco. The 100-percent affordable rental housing planned for the site will be offered to low- and very low-income families, including some formerly homeless.

The goals of the meeting: to share basic information about the issues surrounding the mixed-use complex, and to get input from community stakeholders about ways the apartment building can best serve the Balboa Park neighborhood.

Mission Housing Executive Director Sam Moss opened the meeting. He acknowledged the years of community engagement that helped bring the project to fruition.

“Many organizations and individuals are responsible for getting us to here,” said Moss. A slide in the presentation thanked John Avalos, San Francisco District 11 Supervisor from 2009 – 2013.

“Supervisor Avalos and his staff put in years of tireless advocacy and community organizing that brought this project to light, from its first envisioning through convincing SFCity to buy the land and hold the Request For Qualification competition led to this day.”

Also recognized: A coalition of community stakeholders organized as Communities United for Health and Justice. CUHJ conducted dozens of community surveys, group meetings and face-to-face interviews with residents of District 11. The work helped define the community vision for the Balboa Park Upper Yard development.

Planning and zoning requirements, transit hub considerations

San Francisco’s Planning Department and the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, also known as MOHCD, have specified various aspects of zoning and land use for the Balboa Park Upper Yard parcel. Much of the vision for the site was formulated in the Balboa Park Station Area Plan, developed in 2008 and 2009. The meeting began with a presentation detailing the city’s vision for the site.

The Transit-Oriented Development is being done in partnership with MOHCD, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA). The office of District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí will help Mission Housing coordinate all parties and keep the hopes and concerns of the entire community at the forefront of every decision.

All the parties are collaborating to upgrade transit facilities, and improve pedestrian and bike rider safety, along with the construction of the housing and community-serving ground floor spaces.

Scott Falcone, a long-time neighborhood resident and an affordable housing development consultant to Mission Housing, outlined how the community planning process will progress, and discussed the development schedule. Then, Falcone and Moss clarified what goals the development will accomplish, beyond creating 80 to 120 units of affordable housing. “This is an opportunity to create a gateway into the neighborhood at this major transportation center,” said Falcone. “The development team is committed to working together with the community in a meaningful way, today and throughout the years to come.”

Anne Torney, AIA, partner at Mithun | Solomon, the architecture firm charged with designing the development, presented the opportunities and challenges the development faces. Some of the areas examined: SFMTA and BART considerations, street design, and neighborhood impacts. Developers hope to include community-serving ground floor spaces and public open space to for use by the apartment tenants as well as residents of the surrounding neighborhood. “Our goal is to balance the need for affordable units, and the desire for the building to fit-in with the neighborhood scale,” said Torney. “This is an opportunity to create a neighborhood-transforming asset.”

“We will be designing and building the Balboa Park Upper Yard development in a manner that produces a high-quality, enduring living environment.”

Four break-out groups allowed community members to drill down into particular topics about the development. The lively discussions included issues such as: the design of the building, housing affordability, circulation and transportation, and supportive services. The developers displayed enlarged visuals, and note takers recorded the feedback given. Community members offered opinions about important considerations, and gave optimistic solutions for the development team to consider. At the end of the meeting, all the participants heard highlights from the break-out group discussions.

Only the beginning

The March 25 meeting was the first in a series of large public community meetings this year, to ensure the community has considerable input. The development team already participated in meetings with District 11 community organizations and neighborhood resident associations in 2016, and earlier this year. These smaller meetings will continue.

Second public meeting reviews construction scenarios

May 13th, another large community meeting was held at Balboa High School. This meeting was well attended by community members. Also present were staff from MOHCD, SFMTA, Planning and BART.

The development team presented a range of construction scenarios based upon the community input obtained at the March meeting. The PowerPoint presentation and design variables presented to the community members are linked below.

Aditi Mahmud, Project Manager at Mission Housing, is the organizer of the Balboa Park Upper Yard community meetings. She looks forward to engaging more community partners to host future events. “Every community meeting should be accessible to people all over the Outer Mission/Excelsior area, so we are looking at a variety of venues for future events,” said Mahmud. “Thanks to John Neponuceno, the assistant principal at Balboa High, and his staff. They have helped make planning our events smooth and painless.”

This fall, the developers hope to submit a community-endorsed plan for the development to the Planning Department.

RELATED: View the March PowerPoint presentation shown

RELATED: View the May PowerPoint presentation shown

RELATED: See the Construction Variations discussed May 13

RELATED: See this PDF for frequently mentioned comments from the March 25, 2017 community meeting, and other meetings from the last several months.

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

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