Stealing our last acre and one remaining mule: Black, Brown and no income San Francisco residents resist Housing Authority’s displacement, demolition and privatization of public housing

On Tuesday, April 20, POOR Magazine held a “Stealing Our Last Acre and One Remaining Mule” speak out on City Hall steps, launching a tenants union to organize people in public housing – from folks in Fillmore Mercy Housing to those in Sunnydale, Double Rock and all over San Francisco – to fight to stay in their homes and resist privatization of a human right!

by Tiny Gray-Garcia 

Since 2013, in backroom deals with non-profit organizations, the San Francisco Housing Authority and HUD have been quietly enacting a benignly named plan called RAD, which results in the decimation of the last shred of housing for the very poorest residents of San Francisco.

“This is a national movement to kill public housing and it’s very sad – in many other cities across the US they have completely destroyed all the public housing,” said Greg, one of the organizers of the End E-Radification Coalition, a poor people-led land and equity back movement of POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE. 

“Housing Authority has been sending 90-day eviction notices to a lot of my neighbors,” said Teresa Molina, a POOR Magazine/Prensa POBRE reportera and resident of Sunnydale. Fellow tenants and residents of other public housing units like Sunnydale and Double Rock have also been receiving notices, as reported by comrades from the United Front Against Displacement (UFAD) who have been organizing with tenants in those complexes.

While a global pandemic rages on and people are struggling to stay housed and not become houseless, the San Francisco Housing Authority has been sending notices to tenants and closing down buildings for “redevelopment” with private non-profits like Mercy Housing. 

We demand Black and Brown equity and land and reparations for all the displaced, HUD-removed tenants who are now homeless or facing homelessness.

“They purposely never maintenance our existing units so Housing Authority can make a case for ‘redevelopment,’” said QueennandiXSheba, reporter and poverty skola with POOR Magazine, resident of Plaza East in the Fillmore district and co-founder of the End E-Radification Coalition. 

“Many of the poorest peoples have lived, taken care of and raised their families in public housing for generations. We are helping folks launch a tenants’ union to stay in their homes, but our fight is not just to keep this housing; it is also to demand Black and Brown equity and land and reparations for all the displaced, HUD-removed tenants who are now homeless or facing homelessness. We are seeking a law firm to help us make this happen,” said Tiny Gray-Garcia, co-founder of POOR Magazine, Homefulness and End-eRADification Coalition.

Organizers are using this speak-out to launch a tenants’ union in the buildings, connect with national organizers who are also fighting this removal project and also continue to help people create their own self-determined, land liberation and Land Back movements like Homefulness.

“Both political parties have attacked public housing for decades. Trump took RAD from Obama and put it on the fast track. Will Biden repeal RAD or continue with it?” asked Leroy Moore, founder of Krip Hop Nation and co-founder of Homefulness. 

POOR Magazine is a poor and indigenous people-led art, culture and liberation movement. We are inviting all organizations to co-sponsor this effort and join us Tuesday, April 20, in standing with the tenants. 

Articles on this from the SF Bay View and POOR Magazine: “Stealing our last acre and one remaining mule,” Selling our homes to private investors,” Public housing privatization,” The privatization,” From privatization to reparations,” Section 8 and public housing at risk.”

Lisa “Tiny” Gray-Garcia, aka “povertyskola,” is a poet, teacher and the formerly houseless, incarcerated daughter of Dee and mama of Tiburcio and author of “Criminal of Poverty: Growing Up Homeless in America” and “Poverty Scholarship: Poor People-led Theory, Art, Words and Tears Across Mama Earth” and co-founder of Homefulness, a homeless people’s solution to homelessness. Reach her at www.lisatinygraygarcia.com or @povertyskola on Twitter.