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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.

SF mayor names Mission Housing exec to Treasure Island policy board

Sam Moss is Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation. He has served in various capacities with Mission Housing since 2008, and is active with several community-based organizations. Photo by Tony Bear!

Sam Moss joins Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors

Mayor Ed Lee has appointed Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation, to the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is a nonprofit organization formed to oversee the economic development of the San Francisco neighborhood at the northernmost area of District 6. The seven-member Board of Directors, appointed by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, is the de facto governing body of Treasure Island.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Mayor Ed Lee, Sam Moss

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (right) with Mission Housing exec Sam Moss after the ceremony where Moss was sworn-in as a member of the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors. Photo by Tony Bear!

Stewardship of a regional treasure

A nonprofit organization, the Treasure Island Development Authority was created to act as both the development agency and the trustee of the Tideland Trust for Treasure and Yerba Buena Islands. Charged with ensuring the island is used in an environmentally and economically viable way, the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors create and manage the master development plan and make policy decisions critical to the future of the former naval station.

Board members also approve large contracts, and the authority’s annual budget. The full board meets on the second Wednesday of each month at San Francisco City Hall. The meetings are also carried on SFGov-TV.

“I’m honored to serve San Francisco, and look forward to providing an Affordable Housing- and Community Development-focused mindset to Treasure Island,” said Moss. “This is an amazing opportunity to ensure significant amounts of affordable housing are included not only physically but equitably as well.”

Naval Station Treasure Island

The artificial island in San Francisco Bay was used by the U.S. Government as a base of operations for the U. S. Navy from 1942 until being decommissioned in 1996. Navy operations ended there in 1997, although several federal agencies still maintain a presence on the island.

The City of San Francisco paid $108 million to acquire the property in 2007. Treasure Island is now open to the public and is home to more than 2,000 residents, commercial tenants, schools, athletic organizations and community organizations.

In 2011, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved a redevelopment project on Treasure Island and parts of Yerba Buena Island, with a goal of creating a new San Francisco neighborhood.

The Treasure Island Project

Construction has begun on the Treasure Island Development, a 405-acre redevelopment project that is a joint venture between Lennar Corporation and Kenwood Investments. The partnership is now developing as many as 8,000 homes, some offered at below-market rates. Also part of the master plan: extensive open spaces, three hotels, and 240,000 square feet of restaurants, retail, entertainment venues and office space.

The Treasure Island Development Authority is overseeing the project, which could take fifteen years to complete.

Information from Wikipedia and sftreasureisland.org contributed to this post

Mission Housing adds more affordable housing professionals

Aditi Mahmud (left) has joined the Housing Development team at Mission Housing. Veronica Green re-joins the Mission Housing Resident Services team, this time as Community Associate Director at Valencia Gardens. Photos by Tony Bear!

Experienced Housing Development, Resident Services new hires important to new affordable housing construction, tenant case management

A new year brings more staff members to the Mission Housing Development Corporation employee roster.

Aditi Mahmud has joined the Housing Development team. As Project Manager, Mahmud will help locate and evaluate suitable sites for development. She will also be involved in getting government approvals and drumming up public support for new housing.

Additionally, Mahmud will manage project design, work on financing, and coordinate with attorneys, architects, general contractors and others.

A graduate of the UCLA Department of Urban Planning Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program, Mahmud was previously a project manager in Seattle, WA for Vitus Group, an affordable housing developer.

“The mission and vision of Mission Housing is a perfect fit with my passion for creating affordable housing,” said Mahmud. “Knowing that I can literally open doors for others makes this work very fulfilling.”

Full-time resident services, case management for Valencia Gardens tenants

Veronica Green rejoins the Mission Housing Resident Services team, this time as Community Associate Director. Green will oversee programs, interns and service providers at Valencia Gardens. She will also provide case management, and help residents access community resources and enrichment services.

Green returns to Mission Housing after working as a case manager and an activities director for Mercy Housing. Prior to that, she was at Mission Housing for four years, working at the senior housing sites as a Resident Services Coordinator, and then Resident Services Program Manager.

“I look forward to working with residents, staff and Mission District stakeholders to create a supportive community at Valencia Gardens,” said Green. “My focus will be on bringing programs that will enrich the lives of our residents.”

“These new hires will add to our capacity for building more affordable housing, and delivering more services to our residents,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services at Mission Housing. “We look forward to Aditi and Veronica making outstanding contributions to our mission.”

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.”

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