While the government dangled the promise of more housing, jobs and services in front of a group of some 30 residents, community members wondered about current housing and access for undocumented immigrants.
“We need to preserve affordable housing,” said Raquel Fox, staff attorney for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, after listening to presentations about replacing distressed housing with developments that offer affordable and market-rate housing. “Shouldn’t there be efforts to prevent evictions?”
Yolanda Catzalco, a Mission resident and member of People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights, wanted to know who would have access.
“Can people without papers live in housing that is federally funded?” she asked.
These were two of the main concerns raised at Saturday’s meeting in the second-floor auditorium of the Mission Recreation Center to discuss $200 million in federal funds the city of San Francisco will receive over the next five years to create more affordable housing, job opportunities and access to services.
Led by the Mayor’s Office of Housing, along with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, the meeting was one of eight being held in San Francisco to get community input.
Participants were asked to prioritize housing, job development, access to services, and economic development strategies. Their recommendations will be folded into the Five-Year Consolidated Plan, required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In addition, the funds must be used to benefit low- and moderate-income residents, which for a family of four means an annual income between $33,950 and $90,500.
That represents approximately half of residents in the Mission District.
The funding will focus “on the city’s most vulnerable populations,” said Brian Cheu, director of community development for the Mayor’s Office of Housing. That includes people living in public and subsidized housing, homeless individuals, youth between the ages of 16 and 24, and immigrant communities.
Catzalco’s question was the most difficult to answer.
While Chandra Egan, manager of the inclusionary housing program for the Mayor’s Office of Housing, asserted that no documentation was needed to receive technical assistance or counseling services, she said she would have to “check in” with the mayor’s office in terms of actual housing access for undocumented immigrants.
One community member suggested that undocumented immigrants be allowed to use San Francisco’s municipal identification card to access services.
The Plan will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on May 15, 2010.