Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng's Speech at 4830 Mission St. Press Conference with Mayor London Breed and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí

Director of Community Real Estate Karoleen Feng’s Speech at 4830 Mission St. Press Conference with Mayor London Breed and District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safaí

MEDA’s purchase of 4830 Mission St. makes this a big day, but not just for us. Today is also a big day for the Excelsior … and San Francisco overall.

Vivienda Adelante – 4830 Mission St. marks a huge first for affordable housing in San Francisco, as today we have not only preserved affordable housing — we have actually created affordable housing.

Allow me to explain.

MEDA’s purchase of our previous Small Sites Program buildings in the last two years preserved rent-controlled properties with residents vulnerable to no-fault evictions.

In contrast, at 4830 Mission St. we have now created 21 affordable homes and six commercial spaces in what was a non-rent-controlled property, since it was built after 1979. Realtors blatantly marketed 4830 Mission St. as, and I quote: “a rare opportunity to own a non-rent-controlled building.”

Let’s take a moment to think about what that means.

If a speculator had purchased 4830 Mission St., they could have increased the rents by as much as they wanted. In fact, we saw that happen just two blocks away at 400 London St. When speculators bought that property last year, they intimidated the building’s business owners into prematurely signing new leases at triple the rent, imperiling these small businesses.

Thankfully the residents of Vivienda Adelante – 4830 Mission St will not suffer the same fate. With MEDA’s purchase, this market-rate, non-rent controlled property has been transformed into permanently affordable homes for the 21 households and six small businesses.

Like the residents of 4830 Mission Street, the Excelsior has a large population of Filipino and Latino families. Most of them share similar perspectives of being determined to stay in this community. It is crucial to share the benefits of the Small Sites Program because it assures the ability to stay in their current units and maintain cultural diversity in San Francisco.

WE NEED the City to prioritize and grow its innovative Small Sites Program — a targeted approach now proven as San Francisco’s major anti-displacement preservation strategy for rooting our households by taking homes off the private market.

Let me be clear: We need to prioritize more funds to take buildings like this off the speculative market.

We need more money in the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, which provided critical acquisition financing so that we could buy the building as quickly as any other buyer on the market.

We need more money into similar acquisition programs like MEDA’s own CDFI, Fondo Adelante, so that we can compete aggressively on the open market.

AND We need more funds for and from Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, as an ongoing partner, and we should all support them in scaling the Small Sites Program.

Nonprofits like MEDA make Vivienda Adelante – 4830 Mission St. a reality, but we could not have done this on our own.

I want to extend kudos to City officials for rallying around this work. Many of you have recently come to MEDA to ask how to implement Small Sites in your district. That includes Supervisor Safaí (photo, center), who advocated for his community by making sure this District 11 building was prioritized in receiving funding.

Additionally, we all need to thank the building owners, Mr. O’Mahoney and Mr. O’Sullivan. Owners are often a forgotten piece of the equation. In this case, the owners chose to sell to MEDA to ensure their tenants could stay rooted in the City. We need more building owners like them to choose to sell to nonprofits, thereby solidifying their legacy in San Francisco.

And then there are our partner organizations, PODER and SOMCAN, who, with the small but mighty MEDA team, sat with our tenants — and, yes, they are now MEDA’s tenants — to explain what this program was and answered tenants’ concerns about their housing rights. With our joint efforts, the tenants came together to keep their future in their homes for generations to come.

Today is indeed a day to celebrate. And let’s continue to work together to make such celebrations the norm rather than the exception — in ALL neighborhoods experiencing displacement in San Francisco.

 

 

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