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Mayor Lee Takes First Step to Reform City’s Public Housing

Mayor Appoints Five New Public Housing Commissioners to Focus on Finance & Management, Public Safety, Conditions, Social Services & Job Opportunities

Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the first step in reforming the governance and management of public housing in San Francisco by appointing five new San Francisco Housing Authority Board of Commissioners with expertise in finance and management; public safety, social services and workforce development.

“I thank our former Housing Commissioners for their service and I look forward to their continued support, participation and input as we re-envision public housing,” said Mayor Lee. “Today, I have appointed five new Commissioners who have the expertise we need to improve the finances, management, public safety and current conditions at our City’s public housing sites while focusing on providing residents with the social services and job opportunities they need to be successful. In my State of the City Address last week, I called for a complete re-envisioning of how we serve San Franciscans who live in our City’s public housing. Being on a constant treadmill of troubled lists and repair backlogs that are structurally underfunded is not working for our residents or our City. We will take bold steps to revitalize our City’s most distressed public housing sites. We must work toward a better model through HOPE SF and collaborate with HUD and our partners in the nonprofit and private sectors, and we begin that work today with the expertise of a new team of Commissioners.”

Mayor Lee directed City Administrator Naomi Kelly and the Mayor’s Office of Housing Director Olson Lee to partner with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to develop a new vision for public housing based on HOPE SF, a nationally-recognized model. HUD has agreed to partner with San Francisco to create this new vision. Recommendations are due July 1, 2013.

Mayor Lee appointed five members – Phil Arnold, Eric Fleming, Jaci Fong, Joaquin Torres and Ted Yamasaki – to work with Housing Authority Acting Director Barbara Smith. Public housing resident Patricia Thomas, who was recently appointed, remains on the Commission.

Phil Arnold is the Deputy Director for Finance and Administration at the San Francisco Human Services Agency, managing all aspects of Budget, Finance, Human Resources, Information Technology, Contracts, Investigations and Facilities for the department.

Eric Fleming works in the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney assigned to prosecute gang homicides and oversee gang-related cases. He is an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law where he teaches a class that focuses on trial advocacy and ethics and is a former Los Angeles Police Officer.

Jaci Fong is the City Purchaser and the Director of the Office of Contract Administration, procures approximately $250 million in materials and supplies and executes approximately $500 million of professional service contracts that support the operations of City services, and oversees the Office of Contract Administration, Risk Management, Labor Standards Enforcement, Fleet Management and the City’s Reproduction and Mail Services.

Patricia Thomas is a mother and resident of Chinatown’s Ping Yuen who has worked tirelessly on behalf of many communities, often serving as a “bridge” to the African-American community and other ethnic groups.

Joaquin Torres is Deputy Director at the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development where he leads Mayor Lee’s Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative to leverage City resources across city departments to maximize positive economic and social impact in low - moderate income neighborhoods and throughout San Francisco’s commercial corridors.

Ted Yamasaki is the Managing Deputy Director of the Department of Human Resources, exercising operational responsibility for the administration of a merit system and human resources programs for the City and County of San Francisco and manages human resources programs including recruitment and assessment, classification, Equal Employment Opportunity complaint investigations, workforce development, information systems, compensation, employee/labor relations, workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety programs, budget development and implementation, and general human resources management.

Last week, Mayor Lee announced his intention to take this action during his State of the City Address and engage residents, community leaders, nonprofit housing partners, and private sector development experts to develop a set of recommendations by July 1st to re-envision public housing, building and expanding on the model of HOPE SF. HOPE SF revitalizes San Francisco’s severely distressed public housing sites through public and private partnerships and creates thriving, mixed-income communities, without displacing residents. The City will also examine how the voter-approved Housing Trust Fund can be used as a financing tool to rebuild public housing and increase housing stock in San Francisco.

The HOPE SF initiative was born out of a need to address the ongoing deterioration of San Francisco’s public housing in the light of diminishing Federal assistance. HOPE SF is a 21st Century model of public-private partnerships that integrate people of all ages, classes and ethnicities into one thriving community. The financial model for HOPE SF is integrated with Federal funding, local money and private investment, and public ownership of the land to ensure long term affordability. The City has committed $95 million dollars to HOPE SF, the largest local commitment to public housing in history. The active HOPE SF sites are Hunters View, Alice Griffith, Sunnydale and Potrero Terrace and Annex.

In January, Mayor Lee welcomed the first families into their new homes in the first building of the first phase of the Hunters View rebuild, the first of five public housing sites slated to be redeveloped as part of the City’s HOPE SF initiative. The San Francisco Housing Authority, Mayor’s Of?ce of Housing, and private developers have been engaged in predevelopment planning and community engagement at Hunters View since 2005. Demolition began on the ?rst phase of the site in 2010, commencing a $80-million infrastructure and construction investment over the next two years and a $270 million investment for the entire development by 2017.

HUD selected HOPE SF transformation plan for Alice Griffith as a recipient of the $30.5 million Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant and awarded two Choice Neighborhood Initiative planning grants for the Potrero Annex/Terrace and for Sunnydale.