“These promotoras are the most effective and committed to helping others apply for affordable housing in San Francisco.” So said MEDA Community Organizer Dairo Romero at an August 3 celebration of 642 below-market-rate (BMR) apartment applications being put in by the Latino community, with the assistance of these 12 community outreach workers.
Romero’s statement is backed by recognition from the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who signed a dozen individualized Certificates of Honor that were handed out at the event by Legislative Aide Carolina Morales from District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office.
The language on the certificate stated the following (translated from Spanish):
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recognizes you for your incredible leadership and dedication in helping the Latino community obtain permanent housing and dignity. Your labor has promoted housing opportunities in San Francisco for more than 600 families applying via the DAHLIA portal. We hope you continue to actively participate in the fight for the rights and dignity of the San Francisco Latino community for many more years.
The fiesta at MEDA also included many of those who have obtained a BMR apartment in San Francisco. There have been 38 such community members settling into their new homes in just the last 18 months.
The team of promotoras has been a major part of making this happen, with outreach concentrated in the Mission, Tenderloin, Excelsior, Bayview and Visitacion Valley. From iglesias to lavanderias to escuelas, these tireless promotoras are meeting people where they are located. Romero has conducted trainings so that the promotoras have the tools they need to avail San Francisco’s Latino community of the many BMR apartments in the pipeline.
MEDA is exploring the possibility of further scaling this successful model to other organizations serving communities of color. The idea is to define community leaders and then have MEDA conduct the comprehensive affordable-housing trainings.
Interestingly, at the celebration some community members excitedly realized they were living in the same building. Their determination has helped them find affordable and stable housing in San Francisco. Such perseverance combines with the invaluable assistance of promotoras to generate success for the community.
Says promotora Andrea Paz of what drives her work: “Darle esperanza a las personas de tener un lugar digno denda vivir.”
Translation: “It’s about offering hope to people so they have a decent place to live.”