Seminar reviews fair housing laws, industry best practices

The combined staffs of Caritas Management and Mission Housing sit with attorneys from Fair Housing of Marin as they present a comprehensive review of federal and state fair housing laws.

Mission Housing, Caritas Management staff get in-depth fair housing course on renter rights, housing provider responsibilities

September 23, 2016, the combined staffs of Caritas Management Corporation and Mission Housing Development Corporation sat with attorneys from Fair Housing of Marin as they presented a comprehensive review of federal and state fair housing laws. The event also outlined pro-active fair housing policies and best practices that can help protect tenants from possible discrimination.

“Mission Housing and Caritas Management are both very focused on providing our tenants a housing experience above and beyond what is required by law,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services at Mission Housing. “This annual seminar is a great way to make sure our staff is always upholding our commitment to fairly accommodating our tenants’ rights.”

The three-hour session, held in the auditorium at Centro del Pueblo, covered a wide range of fair housing related topics. Also included: An overview of recent changes to fair housing laws governing disability discrimination, reasonable accommodations and accessibility, familial rights and gender.

Fair Housing of Marin offers many training seminars and conferences on fair housing law every year. Property owners and managers, housing advocates, and other real estate professionals in the private and public sectors attend the events.

The Federal Fair Housing Act protects individuals from discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of housing based on race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability and familial status. In the State of California, there are additional protections for marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, source of income and arbitrary characteristics such as age through the California Fair Employment and Housing Act.

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Mission Housing new hires bring experience, add capacity

Karla Perez (left) joins the Mission Housing Resident Services team as a Coordinator; Chirag Bhakta as the new Community Engagement Coordinator. The two were added to the staff on September 12, 2016. Photo by Tony Bear!

Community Engagement, Resident Services new hires will help stabilize and empower tenants

Monday, September 12, two new staff members were added to the employee roster of Mission Housing Development Corporation.

Chirag Bhakta is the new Community Engagement Coordinator for Mission Housing. In this role he will organize Mission Housing tenants around the most pressing issues in the Mission District. A San Francisco native, he was previously the Outreach and Campaign Engagement Coordinator for the Mission SRO Collaborative, a program of Dolores Street Community Services.

“I came to work for Mission Housing because of the opportunities it would open up for both myself, for the organization, and for the Mission District,” he said. “I look forward to building up an anti-gentrification, pro-justice grass-roots collaboration between the various communities which make up the neighborhood.”

Karla Perez joined the Mission Housing Resident Services team as a Coordinator, helping residents access community resources and enrichment services, both on- and off-site. Perez will focus on serving residents of four Mission Housing apartment buildings: Plaza del Sol, Maria Alicia, Juan Pifarré Plaza and Dunleavy.

“These new hires will help us focus on important areas that directly impact our residents, and increase our ability to deliver services,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services at Mission Housing. “We look forward to Chiraq and Karla making outstanding contributions to our mission.”

Mission Housing leaders, others, support London Breed D.C. visit

District 5 Supervisor London Breed (left) receives a letter of support from Joshua Arce, secretary of the Mission Housing Board of Directors. Looking on are Roberto Hernandez of Our Mission No Eviction (center) and Mission Housing executives Sam Moss and Marcía Contreras. Photo by Tony Bear!

London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, heads to Washington, D.C. to push for neighborhood preference in housing decisions

August 31, Mission Housing Board Secretary Joshua Arce convened a press conference at 1950 Mission St. in support of District 5 Supervisor London Breed as she meets with federal housing department officials. The purpose of her trip: To push back against a ruling by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, also known as HUD, which invalidates San Francisco efforts to favor local residents in affordable housing lotteries.

The Board of Supervisors approved “neighborhood preference” housing legislation last year. This would set aside 40 percent of the new affordable housing units for qualified applicants living in the district, or within a half-mile radius of where the development is located.

HUD vetoed the San Francisco plan, calling it a violation of the federal Fair Housing Act. HUD provides funds and tax incentives to help build affordable housing in San Francisco and around the country, and also offers federal rent subsidies to some tenants.

Hundreds of affordable housing units are coming online in the Mission District over the next few years. As a result of the HUD ruling, none of the new units will be guaranteed for people who already reside in the Mission.

Under the San Francisco plan, Mission District residents would be favored to reside in at least 64 of the 160 units of affordable housing in the 1950 Mission St. development on the drawing board at Mission Housing.

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RELATED: Supervisor to Meet with Feds Over City’s Anti-Displacement Plan

FOLLOW-UP: HUD to rethink veto of SF’s preference housing law

Marcía Contreras joins Eastern Neighborhoods Citizen’s Advisory Committee

Marcía Contreras is Director of Operations, and Director of Resident Programs and Services for Mission Housing Development Corporation. She has served in various capacities with Mission Housing since 2009, and is active with several community-based organizations. Photo by Tony Bear!

Mission Housing exec Marcía Contreras will advise mayor, supervisors, inform district residents

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has named Marcía Contreras to represent District 9 on the Eastern Neighborhoods Citizen’s Advisory Committee.

The Citizens Advisory Committee gives input to City of San Francisco agencies and decision makers on implementation of the Eastern Neighborhoods Area Plans. The community advisory body is comprised of people representing the neighborhoods of East SoMa, Mission, Showplace/Potrero, West SoMa, Central Waterfront. Also on the committee: members appointed by supervisors of Districts 6, 8, 9 and 10.

“I look forward to seeing you play a vital leadership role in our local government and in the communities you serve,” Mayor Lee told Contreras in a statement.

The committee helps city government prioritize how public benefits are disbursed. The committee members also keep the residents they represent informed about city policy and legislation, and the status of development proposals.

Contreras is Director of Operations, and Director of Resident Programs and Services for Mission Housing Development Corporation, a nonprofit that builds and manages affordable housing in the Mission District and other San Francisco neighborhoods. She has served in various capacities with Mission Housing since 2009, and is active with several local organizations.

“This is a tremendous responsibility,” said Contreras. “I look forward to presenting ideas from the Mission that will help the Mayor and the City prioritize how their plans are implemented.”

Contreras’ term on the committee ends October, 2017.