Justice4Amilcar Mural unveiled at Mission Housing site

More than four years after tragedy struck in the Mission, the people of the community can now take another step in their healing process.

The Justice4Amilcar Mural, “Alto al Fuego en La Misón” located at 3250 24th Street was unveiled Sunday morning. The mural is the largest in the Latino Cultural Corridor in a decade.

“It’s been an honor to partner with the community to support something that will hopefully bring us all together to heal,” said Mission Housing executive director Sam Moss. “This incredible work of art was created to celebrate the life and impact of Amilcar and Mission Housing is truly honored to be a part of it all.”

RELATED: Listen to the San Francisco inFlux podcast and their interview with the Justice4Amilcar Mural artists on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play or Podbean

The mural is dedicated to Amilcar Perez-Lopez, who was shot and killed by officers from the San Francisco Police Department on February 26th, 2015. For just under five years, Perez-Lopez’s death has elicited widespread protests throughout the city and media attention throughout the world. While charges were not filed against the officers responsible, Perez-Lopez’s family in Guatemala, and the Mission community where he lived and died, refuse to forget him and others lost to police violence.

“We’ve always believed that our buildings are part of the fabric of our community and a canvas in which our community can express their voices,” said Marcia Contreras, Deputy Executive Director at Mission Housing. “As such, it is their voice that matters the most.”

The mural portrays Perez-Lopez, his family demanding justice, and the other community members recently killed by SFPD: Mario Woods, Alex Nieto, Luis Gongora Pat, and Jesus Adolfo Delgado. The mural also depicts immigrants and migrants killed along the United States’ southern border: Roxana Hernandez, Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez, and Oscar and Valeria Martinez.

“This mural not only remembers the tragedy and trauma of these police killings, but also the hope and resilience of the community that refuses to forget them,” said Father Richard Smith, one of the mural’s chief organizers. “It represents the ongoing struggle to purge SFPD of its decades-long racism, brutality, and corruption. Too many young people of color have been needlessly killed, too many moms and dads still remain in tears. May this mural both honor their deceased loved ones and be a prayer not only of lamentation but also for their healing and hope.”

Located on the new offices of the Calle24 Latino Cultural District, the mural is latest in improvements at one of Mission Housing’s scattered sites — work that began in 2017.

“Alto al Fuego en la Mision” supported by Mission Housing Development Corporation, Mission Night Walks, and organized by Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY). The mural was funded by Mission Housing, the San Francisco Foundation Rapid Response Fund, CHALK, and many generous community donations through fiscal sponsors Saint John’s Episcopal Church, HOMEY, and Fr. Richard Smith.

Lead artists on the project were Carla Elana Wojczuk, Lucía González Ippolito, Flavia Elisa Mora, Cristian Muńoz, Pancho Pescador, Adrianna Adams, Anna Lisa Escobedo, Sonia G Molina — in collaboration with: Mission youth, Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth, and The Justice4Amilcar Coalition.

Mission affordable housing builder undertakes retrofit

The ground floor area at 3254 24th Street will undergo one of the more extensive rehab efforts, eliminating the existing commercial space. Photo by Tony Bear!

Mission Housing begins life and safety upgrades; Mayor’s office funding retrofit on various permanently affordable rental units

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development for the City and County of San Francisco, also known as MOHCD, has awarded Mission Housing Development Corporation $3.9 million to perform wholesale structural improvements on several buildings in the Mission Housing portfolio.

In 2016, MOHCD issued a Notice of Funding Availability, the “Existing Non-Profit Owned Rental Housing Capital Repairs NOFA”. The goal of the funding: facilitating the preservation of permanent affordable housing for low income and homeless households in San Francisco.

The Mission Housing response to the ENP NOFA detailed the extensive rehab work needed to stabilize six multi-family buildings and help preserve their affordability over the long-term.

“One reason Mission Housing exists, is to stabilize and preserve affordable housing stock in the Mission and throughout San Francisco,” said Sam Moss, Executive Director of Mission Housing. “People have a right to live in safe, habitable places. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development we can make the investment needed to uphold the high quality of life all San Franciscans deserve, regardless of their income.”

Retrofits address multiple concerns while preserving housing stock, community-serving businesses

The six properties being retrofitted, originally built in the late 1890s and early 1920s, were acquired by Mission Housing in the 1980s and 1990s to preserve affordable housing stock.

The construction efforts are projected to begin in fourth quarter of 2017. Much of the work needed addresses seismic concerns, habitability, life/safety, and code compliance issues. While most of the building occupants should experience minimal disruption, a few residents may be temporarily relocated at some point in the construction phases.

The retrofit work will encompass a few commercial spaces. “Mission Housing is working with all the affected commercial tenants to ensure their businesses remain strong throughout construction,” said Moss.

Calle 24 Latino Cultural District could gain a community-serving space

The ground floor area at 3254 24th Street will undergo one of the more extensive rehab efforts, as part of essential life and safety upgrades needed to keep the upstairs residences viable. Because this renovation will substantially reduce the amount of commercial space, it could be converted to offices for the Mission Housing Resident Services team.

“We are looking into how the space could transition into a neighborhood-serving hub,” said Marcía Contreras, Director of Operations and Resident Services for Mission Housing. Contreras is a member of the Calle 24 Council. “Our teams could be in closer proximity to our 24th Street-area residents, and more non-residents could access our community services.”

“This change would make 3254 24th Street another asset to the Mission District,” said Contreras.

The commercial tenant being displaced by the retrofit work will receive assistance with relocating.