Sam Moss: Remembering Peter Neuendorff

Peter Neuendorff came to Caritas Management Corporation in 1986 to work as a property manager for the Mission Housing Development Corporation portfolio. He worked his way up the ladder to become President of Caritas in 1992, a position he held until 2016, when he moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to enjoy his retirement.

Peter Neuendorff represented all of the best things about the bond between the Mission Housing and Caritas Management families.

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Sam Moss

Sam Moss is Executive Director of Mission Housing Development Corporation

We were buoyed by his endless work ethic, his intelligence, and most of all, by his heart and soul. Peter supported our organizations — and our missions — with everything he had, and because of him we’ll be here for another fifty years.

Peter was also a champion for anyone who couldn’t champion for themselves, and he did it in a way that made you want to stand up and be heard. He would become one of my most important mentors, believing in me at a time when no one in the San Francisco Affordable Housing Industry at large would even give me the time of day.

What saddens me, besides losing one of my closest friends and confidants, is that I owe Peter a personal debt that I’ll never be able to repay. Perhaps one day, there will someone I can support and empower, in the same way that Peter made me want to strive for what others said was impossible.

With a heavy heart,

Mission Housing Development Corporation | Sam Moss
Sam Moss, Executive Director
Mission Housing Development Corporation

In Memorium: Peter Neuendorff — President of Caritas Management Corporation, 1986 – 2016

Peter Neuendorff, and his pet, Blankita, a rescue dog, while attending the re-dedication of Betel Apartments in 2016. Photo by Tony Bear!

Peter Neuendorff dedicated most of his life to serving the disadvantaged among us, with a passion that made him a perfect fit for the Mission Housing and Caritas Management families

Peter Neuendorff came to Caritas Management Corporation in 1986 to work as a property manager for the Mission Housing Development Corporation portfolio. He worked his way up the ladder to become President of Caritas in 1992, a position he held until 2016, when he moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to enjoy his retirement. He made routine trips back to his home in Oakland.

Last month, due to an unfortunate incident which caused him irreparable, catastrophic brain damage, Peter’s directive to be removed from life support was fulfilled. He passed away peacefully on June 28th in Oakland, at the age of 62.

Memorial arrangements are pending.

Peter is truly missed by a plethora of co-workers, colleagues and friends influenced by his passion, charm and expertise.

“His focus and dedication to Caritas made Caritas what it is today,” said John Nuño, Chair of the Caritas Management Board of Directors. “May we all continue Peter’s good works at Caritas! Peter lived well and enjoyed the good things in life… a true bon vivant! We will miss him.”

“Peter’s special quality of creating community in the workplace helped Caritas’ staff enjoy a special relationship with him,” said Caritas board Vice Chair Viola Maestas. “Both clients and professional colleagues also fell under his charm! In Peter’s post-Caritas time, he had established permanent residency in Puerto Vallarta, and had plans to set up a community-serving nonprofit. He had a growing circle of friends, from proprietors of his favorite cafes and shops, to locals he would greet on his daily walks. And, of course he made friends with other expats and visitors from around the world.”

“His eccentric personality, combined with his unique choice of attire and occasional sailor mouth is a package that we will all miss,” said Devesh Patel, President of Caritas Management. “Peter once promised me that I would never meet anyone like him, to which I immediately agreed! Throughout the years, Peter touched the lives of many people in our industry and local community.”

“Peter Neuendorff represented all of the best things about the bond between the Mission Housing and Caritas Management families,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We were buoyed by his endless work ethic, his intelligence, and most of all, by his heart and soul. Peter supported our organizations — and our missions — with everything he had, and because of him we’ll be here for another fifty years.”

“Peter was a very charismatic person with tons of extremely contagious energy! His focus was serving our residents, and caring for his staff, partners and community,” said Márcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director of Mission Housing. “I will remember him as always having a smile on his face, always being willing to serve others, and always being supportive of our operations and growth.”

“Peter was a true master manager who earned absolute loyalty of all his staff, a deep understanding of his residents, and an appreciation for the many cultures represented in our properties,” said Maryann Dillon, Executive Director of Housing Initiative Partnership, in Hyattsville, MD. Maryann was Executive Director of Mission Housing from 1988 to 1992. “He never lost his cool and he was never at a loss for what to do next. He had exacting standards and he wouldn’t put up with anything less.”

“Peter was my friend, neighbor and colleague. He was the Swede with a heart of a soul brother. I loved his energy and enthusiasm whether he was telling a story of his colorful life, or of his passion for service and for getting things done,” said Sadie Vialpando Williams of Building Alliances Coaching. “His history is embedded in overcoming obstacles: from arriving in SF at an early age and living in the Tenderloin, to tackling housing and community development in San Francisco, to running a major real estate management company. He did it all with class, creativity and a positive ‘can do’ attitude.”

Tour highlights affordable housing neighborhood benefits

Execs from Mission Housing and BRIDGE Housing lead a motorized cable car tour of several San Francisco affordable housing sites. Photo by Tony Bear!

Motorized cable car transports tour group around SF affordable housing sites

Saturday, June 23rd, several people learned first-hand how affordable housing changes neighborhoods, and lives, for the better.

The 20-mile, round-trip, guided tour gave a group of neighbors from the Balboa Reservoir area a first-hand view of the role nonprofit developers play in building, preserving and managing the affordable housing stock of San Francisco.

Moderated by Sam Moss, Mission Housing Development Corporation Executive Director and Kearstin Dischinger, BRIDGE Housing Project Manager and Policy Planner, the tour visited several BRIDGE Housing and Mission Housing properties located throughout San Francisco. Some stops included a brief walking mini-tour. The tour also visited the sites of future Mission Housing developments.

“We are very thankful so many ‘housing secure’ people invested time into learning more about how affordable housing works, who lives in these affordable homes, and the importance of the work we do” said Moss. “The interest and engagement demonstrated was very encouraging, and makes me hopeful that more and more people will advocate to make housing legal, everywhere.”

Tour participants got an in-depth understanding of the successes and challenges facing the San Francisco affordable housing industry. The tour provided a clear understanding what it takes to shelter, stabilize and empower thousands of the most vulnerable San Francisco residents.

“The folks that came along felt they learned a lot and appreciated being able to go in and walk around the developments. They were impressed,” said Rick Williams, of Van Meter Williams Pollack LLP. Williams’ architecture firm designed several of the buildings included in the tour. Williams explained how each of the buildings were designed to fit-in well and add to the quality-of-life and character of their neighborhoods, while providing high-value infrastructure, and quality long-term homes for the residents.

The tour began, and ended, at the Balboa Reservoir, a site owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that is adjacent to City College of San Francisco. The Balboa Reservoir is being developed into mixed-income housing, open space and community amenities. Mission Housing and BRIDGE Housing are two of the nonprofit developers who, along with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco, will build an estimated 550 units of 100 percent affordable housing on the site.

Mission Housing acquires historic South Park property, the Gran Oriente Hotel

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel preserved as 100% affordable housing stock; one of three South Park properties to be rehabilitated

Mission Housing Development Corporation today announced another residential hotel has been added to its South Park portfolio.

The Gran Oriente Filipino Hotel, at 104-106 South Park Street [MAP], is one of the earliest Filipino-owned buildings in the South of Market area of San Francisco. Built in 1907, the Gran Oriente Hotel was acquired by Filipino seamen of the Wor Rizal Lodge #12 Of The Gran Oriente Filipino Masonic fraternity, in the 1920s, for $6,000. The organization owns two other buildings on South Park: a lodge, and a small apartment complex.

The properties are regarded as important assets for the Filipino Cultural Heritage District.

The Gran Oriente is one of three residential hotels in the South Park Historic District. Residential hotels are also known as single-room occupancy hotels, or SROs.

As South of Market property values skyrocketed over the years, the fraternal organization received numerous unsolicited, speculative purchase offers for the Gran Oriente Hotel. Community leaders wondered just how long the building could avoid being “gentrified” — sold on the private market, the units rehabbed and then leased at high rents.

When South of Market community leaders learned of a potential Gran Oriente sale, they began to consider how to keep ownership of the property in community hands, so its affordability would be positioned to survive in perpetuity.

Filipino community members asked San Francisco District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim to facilitate a solution. She connected the organizers and Mission Housing. Supervisor Kim believed Mission Housing — as a nonprofit, community-based affordable housing organization already operating in South Park — was well-qualified to strengthen and ensure the Gran Oriente is protected as permanent affordable housing for future generations.

“The Gran Oriente Hotel is a significant building to the Filipino community in San Francisco and for the South Park neighborhood,” said Supervisor Kim. “It also provides 24 SRO units which provide critical affordable housing for the community.”

“I am honored to have worked with SoMa Pilipinas and Mission Housing over the last two years to facilitate its purchase through the Small Sites Program and ensure it remains a community-owned site.”

In meetings between the leadership of the Filipino Community Development Corporation, the Filipino-American Development Foundation, SOMA Pilipinas, the SOMA Stabilization Fund Community Advisory Committee and Mission Housing representatives, ideas were shared about how to honor the Filipino legacy of the building, and find a current and future co-ownership structure that involves the Filipino community.

The outcome: a Filipino organization will own or co-own the Gran Oriente by 2025.

Until then, Mission Housing will be working with community members on rehabilitating the site, ensuring that all existing tenants remain, and utilizing the site for future community activism and support.

“Mission Housing is proud to partner with the Filipino community to ensure that the Gran Oriente Hotel remains in community hands,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “We will be working with the community to provide tenant education, organizing, and programming of the Gran Oriente as a historic and cultural asset.”

“Leaders from the community, such as the late Steve Arevalo, made certain the Gran Oriente will continue to play a vital role as part of the Filipino Cultural Heritage District of San Francisco.”

Welcome to the Mission Housing South Park family

Mission Housing acquired and rehabbed the other two South Park SROs — The Park View and Hotel Madrid — in 1987. Both provide permanent housing for formerly homeless, special needs, and very low-income adults. Since the renovation, Mission Housing has operated on-site supportive Resident Services programs at both locations.

Adding Gran Oriente’s 24 units to the mix creates efficiencies in overall cash flow, operations and services offered to residents. Which means, soon, the people living at the Gran Oriente will be able to access the same Resident Services provided to other Mission Housing South Park residents.

“Our Resident Services team will be making contact with current Gran Oriente tenants, to learn their needs, so we can make informed decisions about which services will help their quality of life,” said Márcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director of Mission Housing, and head of the organization’s Resident Services department.

Financing the transaction

Funds for the $4.5 million acquisition and subsequent rehabilitation are being provided by The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and its South of Market Community Stabilization Fund.

Ownership change spurs preservation effort

Monies from The SOMA Stabilization Fund, and the City’s Small Sites Program, will also pay for an extensive rehab of the Gran Oriente, to include updating mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and structural features such as the roof; replacing appliances and finishes; adding ADA-accessible units and an interior courtyard; and, bringing the building up to city standards for light, air, fire safety, and egress.

Also included, a moderate rehab for The Park View and Hotel Madrid, which means a total of 106 units of South Park affordable housing will be preserved. Construction should start in late 2019, and finish in April, 2021.

Following the completion of the Gran Oriente’s full rehab, Mission Housing will work with the City Planning Department’s Historic Preservation Commission and SOMA Pilipinas to have the Gran Oriente designated a historic site.