by Sunnydale Tenant Association President Shelly Leonard
I hope this message, documents and presentation will go across the United States.
I sent a presentation to the White House to the attention of President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Marcia Fudge. To this date, I did not receive a response back. I did, however, receive a package back from Marcia Fudge addressed “return to sender.”
Before I mailed the documents to the White House, I also sent letters to Mayor London Breed of San Francisco, Gov. Gavin Newsom as well as Helen Hale from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development and District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, to no response.
On Oct. 15, 2021, House Speaker Pelosi, Gov. Newsom, Marcia Fudge of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Mayor Breed came to Sunnydale development and gave a speech on behalf of Sunnydale. However, it was never communicated to anyone that they would be coming to our community.
It also was stated that there would be jobs for residents in our community for the new redevelopment! That never happened! Mercy Housing had no intention of hiring the residents of Sunnydale. It was never once discussed about how the residents felt about this redevelopment and how it will impact low-income families.
The lack of communication and transparency and the continued shutting out the voices of those impacted in the community and failure to follow through on promises are tools to keep us in poverty and depression! No one voted on this new development – they are pushing us out.
These developments are forcing the majority of people who were born and raised in the City out of their beloved hometown.
Residents who voted Mayor Breed, House Speaker Pelosi and Gov. Newsom into office are unlikely to throw their support behind these politicians and re-elect them as they are not looking out for, nor working for the will of their constituents.
When the people voted on Prop A for affordable housing in 2015, they did so on the promise that Prop A would allow for people to be able to afford to live here in San Francisco! These new developments sadly tell a different story.
These developments are forcing the majority of people who were born and raised in the City out of their beloved hometown. Who gave the politicians the right to speak for the people without hearing from them about how these developments would impact them and how they live?
In the transition from public housing to the new developments at Sunnydale, the developer Mercy Housing is making residents provide documents to apply to even qualify for the new buildings and is charging for utilities. In the private developments across San Francisco, residents have to pay more to live there than in public housing.
We demand these politicians remember who they are supposed to serve – all of San Francisco – not just the tech giants, but those who came before and helped make San Francisco what it is. We demand that there are no more relocations of residents of Sunnydale and Potrero Hill and no more demolitions. The San Francisco Housing Authority must repair our buildings and keep it public housing.
Shelly Leonard, Sunnydale Tenant Association President
The United Front Against Displacement (UFAD) is an anti-gentrification organization that resists gentrification and pushes back against attempts to criminalize and displace people. Contact the group at firstname.lastname@example.org and at 510-815-9978. Follow them online @theUFA and www.theufad.org.