Mayor London Breed, Anita Lee, and Community Leaders Celebrate the Preservation of Permanent Affordable Housing in Honor of Mayor Edwin Lee
Under the Small Sites Program, which was created under by Mayor Lee, 16 units of affordable housing to be preserved, including a building that he helped negotiate to be constructed during his time as a tenant attorney
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Anita Lee, and community leaders today celebrated the acquisition and preservation of two adjoining buildings in the Inner Richmond neighborhood under the City’s Small Sites Program, which will ensure that 16 homes remain permanently affordable.
The announcement comes one year after the tragic passing of the late Mayor Ed Lee, who oversaw the creation of the Small Sites Program. Mayor Lee negotiated the construction of 289-291 9th Avenue, one of the buildings being preserved, during his time as a tenant attorney with the Asian Law Caucus. The building was constructed as part of a settlement agreement between Bank of Canton (now East West Bank), the Chinese Community Housing Corporations (now Chinatown Community Development Center), and the Asian Law Caucus following the demolition of a residential building in the Financial District to make room for the Bank of Canton’s corporate headquarters.
“This is a bittersweet day for our community, as this program and this building are enduring legacies of Mayor Lee,” said Mayor Breed. “Both of us grew up in public housing, and I know that preserving and expanding our affordable housing stock was one of his proudest accomplishments. Today, there are another 16 homes in San Francisco that remain permanently affordable because of his leadership and many Chinese seniors will remain stable in their homes.”
Under the Small Sites Program, 289-291 9th Avenue and 800-810 Clement Street, two adjoining buildings located on one site in the Inner Richmond, are being acquired and rehabilitated by Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC) with $4.55 million in funding provided by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. An additional $3.5 million in funding is being provided by East West Bank.
“Protecting tenants, preventing displacement and preserving existing affordable housing is critical to keeping communities across San Francisco vibrant and strong. I'm thrilled the City's Small Sites Program was able to help ensure that 289 9th Avenue and 800 Clement Street will now be permanently affordable housing, and that we can also honor the late Mayor Lee in the process,” said Kate Hartley, Director of the Mayor's Office of Housing & Community Development.
The buildings consist of 14 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) units, two 2-bedroom units, and four ground floor commercial spaces. The residents are predominantly Chinese seniors with incomes ranging from 10% to 20% of the Area Median Income, and the majority of households are original tenants who moved in when the building was constructed. The rehabilitation plan includes $871,000 in immediate upgrades, including improving the fire alarm and safety protection systems; upgrading mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; seismic strengthening and other code-required improvements; and exterior and common area improvements.
“Today we are commemorating and completing one journey to protect affordable housing in San Francisco. That journey started almost 40 years ago when San Francisco was facing a wave of displacement. One of the people fighting that displacement was a young attorney named Ed Lee,” said Reverend Norman Fong, Executive Director of Chinatown CDC. “It is a testament to former Mayor Ed Lee’s legacy on the eve of the year anniversary of his passing that the seventeen seniors living at 9th Avenue, including a 99 year old tenant who was displaced from her SRO in 1980, now have permanently secure homes.”
“At East West Bank, we believe that meaningful collaborations between the private and public sectors can lead to greater societal benefits,” said Emily Wang, Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing and Community Development at East West Bank. “We were pleased to work with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and Chinatown Community Development Center to protect these buildings as an affordable place for homes and local businesses.”
The Small Sites Program has grown from an initial City investment of $3 million in 2014 to a total of $105 million in City funding to date. Twenty-seven buildings, with 200 units of housing and 13 commercial spaces have been preserved, with an additional 13 buildings in the pipeline, representing 138 units and 15 commercial spaces.