Despite Ellis Act Eviction, Mission Family Remains Determined and Returns to San Francisco

Photo (left to right): Laura Guadron, Hilda Saname, Lorena Moz and Arminda Peraza.

Last December turned out to be no holiday for Hilda Saname and three of her family members. That’s because any joy of the season was overshadowed by an Ellis Act eviction at their Mission District Alabama Street home of 27 years. New Year’s wouldn’t be any brighter, as there was a December 31 move-out date.

This translated to heading to the East Bay town of Hayward, where others in the clan graciously offered to house the quartet. These were tight quarters, with makeshift guest beds and sofas in the living room serving as places to sleep each night.

Despite this setback, the close-knit family, who emigrated from Central America and Peru years ago, remained united in their commitment to return to their adopted home of San Francisco.

Before the move, the family came to MEDA to  apply for a Displaced Tenant Housing Preference (DTHP) certificate, available to those who have been evicted via the Ellis Act or have been displaced by fires.

“A DTHP certificate greatly increases the chances of winning a below-market-rate (BMR) rental lottery. It was imperative for my team to move as quickly as possible to make this happen,” says Housing Opportunities Program Manager Juan Diego Castro. “The family was negotiating their relocation fees with the support of an attorney, so this was a stressful time for them all, which was especially difficult since they are older.”

Once the DTHP certificate was garnered, the family were assisted by MEDA in applying for multiple affordable-housing opportunities in San Francisco. The team knew there would be an obstacle: It would difficult for the household to meet the income eligibility levels at these developments. In fact, the family had actually won a prior BMR housing lottery, but were eventually denied due to a lack of required monthly income. This proved disheartening for the group.

The income issue prompted MEDA staff to support the clients by searching for a housing subsidy through the Q Foundation, which “believes in a world where all people have a safe, decent and affordable home.” Thankfully, the subsidy was approved.

This summer, the household of four was being evaluated for a possible move to a BMR rental at a few San Francisco properties: Abaca; 855 Brannan; and Trinity Phase 3. After evaluating these options, the family chose Trinity Phase 3 — located at 33 8th St. near Mission — as their new San Francisco residence.

Explains Castro, “Trinity Phase 3 was the ideal choice for the family. First, the unit was immediately available. Second, the property is in proximity to a major public transportation hub, making trips to doctors and public-benefit services easier.”

With keys in hand, the family feels blessed that they now have quality, affordable housing in San Francisco that is convenient to the Mission neighborhood they love. The two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is brand new, plus the building’s amenities range from a laundry room and gym to a rooftop deck and residents’ lounge.

“This was a seven-month process, but this family showed the patience and determination needed to secure affordable housing. They all serve as an inspiration to others in similar situations,” concludes Castro.

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Do you need assistance finding affordable housing in San Francisco? Explore your options!
Contact MEDA’s Housing Opportunities team at (415) 282-3334 ext. 126; homeownership@medasf.org

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