Casa de la Misión, an affordable housing complex for seniors transitioning from homelessness, is occupied. It's located on 3001 24th Street. Photo taken by Annika Hom in September 2021.

Affordable housing in the Casa!

As DJ Khaled would say, “Another one!” Casa de la Misión, at 3001 24th St., is full, making it the neighborhood’s fourth all-affordable housing development to debut in the past year and a half. 

More than 40 seniors who recently transitioned out of homelessness live there. In addition to their unit, residents can access a community room, a rooftop terrace, a courtyard, education classes and programs and wraparound services for mental health and substance abuse.

That’s a far cry from a Taco Bell, which was the building’s proposed future until community nonprofit Mission Neighborhood Centers swooped in and bought the place in 1994. I’m sure Taco Bell won’t mind, considering its past commercials had encouraged seniors to live their best lives.

At Casa de la Misión, residents pay 30 percent of their income as rent. According to in-house videos, each unit comes equipped with kitchenware and a microwave, to the thrill of tenants.

“Everything I told them I needed was here,” said Jannette, one of the first residents, who said the amenities stabilized her mental health. “You wouldn’t be able to believe it’s the same person. I ain’t ever had a place to cook before.” 

A celebratory online ceremony took place Wednesday and featured Mission Neighborhood Centers CEO Richard Ybarra, Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Hillary Ronen, and reps from developer Mercy Housing and partner Silicon Valley Bank.

The only item left on the to-do list is to sublease the empty commercial space next door — and initial plans show that San Francisco Bike Coalition will take the wheel.

A slice of the pie

Mamma Mia! That old pizza place might become four homes!

The building, at 3515 Mission St. near Cortland Avenue, previously home to Cecilia’s Pizza & Restaurant and La Carne Asada Restaurant, could be demolished, according to planning documents. A new building will be erected and provide four residential units and retail. This plan, like the reviews on Cecilia’s Yelp page, may be divisive. 

A few neighbors brought questions, according to Man Yip Li, the architect. It’s early and plans are inchoate, but Li welcomes queries. Requests for a discretionary hearing must be made before Oct. 6, 2021. 

The proposed building would  be 24 feet taller than the present one, standing at 40 feet tall. Li proposed a three bed/three bath unit on the third and fourth floors, as well as two two bed/two baths on the second floor. (Say that three times fast.) The ground floor is slated to be a 900-square-foot retail space.

read the last column:

Housing amenities over ADUs

Can’t touch this. Yes, MC Hammer, but also certain housing services, the Planning Commission declared. 

On Thursday, the Planning Commission unanimously approved an ordinance seeking to protect housing services such as laundry rooms or parking spaces from demolition or reduction. 

The legislation came via District 8 Supe Rafael Mandelman, who said property owners in his district planned on scrapping pre-existing amenities to clear the way for accessory dwelling unit (ADU) construction. For example, a property owner of a 30-unit rent-controlled building in Dolores Heights plans to tear down a garage and replace it with four ADUs.  

“At age 80 and currently mobility compromised, it will be very difficult for me to remain proudly independent” without his garage parking, said tenant Richard McGarry, whose building at 555 Buena Vista Ave. West faces a similar situation.

Already, it’s illegal to remove a housing service without “just cause,” but ADUs aren’t explicitly mentioned in that protection. Enter the ordinance, with minor adjustments. 

On Thursday, Mandelman’s legislative aide, Jacob Bintliff, introduced an updated version, which ensures applicants who want to sever a housing service must notify tenants and the Rent Board first. Tenants can make their case to the Rent Board about how losing a service will affect them. 

The Planning Department tried to squeak by two amendments, one notably arguing that parking spaces should be exempt from protections. The department reasoned the city should prioritize housing and not cars. “Oftentimes, a garage space or the parking space is the most appropriate area to expand habitable space, whether or not that’s for an ADU,” planner Veronica Flores said.

However, the commissioners voted this and the other amendment down. They decided parking was an essential factor to many who choose a home, and an existing part of tenants’ rights.

Onward the legislation goes to the Land Use and Transportation Committee in October. 

Housekeeping: What you missed, and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love: 

From us, to you, with love: 

On deck is Joe Eskenazi, who investigates whether an ex-mayor’s clout is enough to greenlight a resident’s controversial (and arguably illegal) construction. After all, “it never comes down on Willie Brown.”

“Trash, trash, trash, not for you!” goes a well-worn line from The Notebook. Except in San Francisco, it is for you — to pick up that is, according to Eleni Balakrishnan. Plus, what are we spending on trash cans and why? Lydia Chávez reveals

What I’m reading: 

What is gentrification? It’s not the problem you might think it is. Vox policy reporter Jerusalem Demsas persuasively engages with the elusiveness of “gentrification” and how it can distract from segregation, which she views as the more fatal issue confronting housing equity.

Candace Jackson’s “House Hunting: Is This Price Right?” for the New York Times enlightened me about the Bay Area’s prevalence of “underpricing,” a tactic that puts the onus on buyers to guess what the actual house is worth. “You can never price a home too low, or that’s sort of the theory,” a real estate agent said. 

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Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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4 Comments

  1. Why do so many social services have to be located in the Mission? Wouldn’t it be better to spread them around the City? I see none on Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Pacific Heights, the Marina, etc. If these services are worth having, they’re worth having throughout the City.

  2. I think the 24th / Harrison site was *planned* to become a Taco Bell until Mission Neighborhood Centers bought it…I don’t believe there ever actually was a Taco Bell there.

    1. Hi Brian,
      Yes, you’re right. I believe my language was confusing/misleading, so I updated to clarify.
      Thanks for reading!
      Best,
      Annika

  3. How about bringing back Mission Girls back to 24th and Harrison at a reduced rent.
    I could not think of a better way to both fill those empty commercial spaces on the first floor and return a Mission resource back to its former location

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