Perseverance Leads to Housing Win, New Home for Ana Acosta and Her Daughter

When a few years ago they razed Candlestick Park — site of many sports victories over the years — a new win occurred for San Franciscans in the form of hundreds of units of affordable housing on the historic site. Emblematic of that win last week was bakery worker Ana Acosta and her toddler, Daniela, with keys handed over to their below-market-rate (BMR) one-bedroom apartment at the new Alice Griffith development at Candlestick Point.

Things are certainly looking up for the small family, who had been living in just half of one room.

The strategy
To ensure San Francisco’s Latino community is aware of BMR units in the City’s pipeline and to streamline the application process, MEDA received a grant last October from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD). This grant came out of the Mission Action Plan 2020 and advocacy from the San Francisco Latino Parity & Equity Coalition.

The innovative strategy includes harnessing the power promotoras — dedicated outreach workers with a long history of disseminating information in Latino communities. The vision was to increase Latino outreach beyond the Mission and its 94110 ZIP code, with promotoras counseling on affordable-housing opportunities by meeting families at churches, schools and other community meetings in the Bayview, Excelsior, Visitacion Valley and the Tenderloin.

The promotoras are working with seven community-based organizations, as a mean to generating collective impact. These nonprofits are Excelsior Works!, Mission Neighborhood Health Center, Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, Faith in Action Bay Area, La Raza Community Resource Center, Instituto Familiar de la Raza and Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc.  

MEDA’s Community Organizer Dairo Romero has conducted in-depth promotora trainings, focusing on the DAHLIA application process via the MOHCD website.

The great news is that there have already been more than 1,000 applications, with 474 Latinos entered into lotteries for BMR apartments.

Ana’s story
Ana emigrated from El Salvador eight years ago, dreaming of a better life. Now caring for 3-year-old Daniela, Ana’s dream has become all-the-more important. To start Daniela off right, the child has been enrolled in a Head Start program through Mission Neighborhood Centers, Inc. This comprehensive program provides early childhood education, health, nutrition and parent-involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Once Daniela was in good care, of utmost importance was finding affordable and stable housing, which is why Ana’s interest was piqued one day at Excelsior Works! when she heard from a promotora about BMR apartment options in San Francisco.

After applying for several options, Ana won the lottery at Alice Griffith, her new home now a reality. Given a tour of the property last week, Ana smiled at the bettered life now available to her family.

A playground features modern facilities to keep kids entertained. A communal laundry room is conveniently located just down the hall. Light pours through the windows.

Additionally, Ana’s sister is also a resident at Alice Griffith, so visits will be easy.

Yo estoy contenta,” explained Ana as she looked out the window at a view of the San Francisco Bay … and toward a brighter future for her family.

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