Hundreds attend hearing to call for action on evictions

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Hene Kelly of Senior and Disability Action leads supporters in a chant calling for an end to evictions.
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

Tenants, organizers and residents impacted by Ellis Act evictions packed the Board of Supervisors Chambers at San Francisco City Hall today, Thu/14, for a hearing called by Sup. David Campos on eviction and displacement in San Francisco.

“It seems to me that we have a tale of two cities,” Campos said at the outset of the hearing, which was held by the Board of Supervisors Neighborhood Services and Safety Committee. “The vast majority of individuals are struggling to stay in San Francisco. We must act urgently to address this crisis, which I believe is a crisis.” He added, "We are fighting, I think, for the soul of San Francisco."

Tony Robles of Senior and Disability Action, who showed up at the hearing wearing a black hooded sweatshirt with pobre (the Spanish word for “poor”) printed across the front, expressed his frustration with the surge of evictions taking place in the booming economic climate. “We have been overlooked – the workers, communities of color … it’s almost as if we are an afterthought,” he said.

Fred Brousseau of the San Francisco Budget and Legislative Analyst’s office delivered a report on his recent analysis of eviction and displacement trends across the city.

Overall evictions in San Francisco rose from 1,242 in 2010 to 1,716 in 2013, reflecting an increase of 38.2 percent, according to San Francisco Rent Board Data highlighted in Brousseau’s report. 

Ellis Act evictions in particular increased by 169.8 percent in that same time frame, he said, with the most recent data showing a total of 162 Ellis Act evictions over the twelve months ending in September 2013. That number reflects units evicted, not how many tenants were impacted.

Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union emphasized that tenant buyouts, frequently offered in lieu of an eviction, are also driving displacement even though these transactions aren’t reflected in city records.

“We need to get in control of these buyouts,” he said. “There are about three of them for every Ellis Act eviction. When you consider them in combination with Ellis, the numbers are very dramatic.”

Brousseau also showed a slide profiling the people who’ve been impacted by evictions citywide. Almost 42 percent had some form of disability, the data revealed, while 49 percent had incomes at or below the federal poverty level.

On the whole, Brousseau said, a total of nearly 43 percent of San Francisco households are “rent-burdened,” a term that officially means devoting more than 30 percent of household income to monthly rental payments.

Throughout the afternoon, tenants shared their stories and fears about getting frozen out of San Francisco by eviction. “I’m looking at shopping carts, and I’m terrified,” one woman told supervisors during public comment. “You have to do something. It might not be enough for me right now, but you can’t do this to any more people.”

Hene Kelly noted that elderly tenants are being disproportionately impacted by Ellis Act evictions. “They don’t have the reserves, they don’t have the jobs, and they don’t have the money to be able to move if they are evicted,” she said. Referencing landlords and speculators who are driving displacement, she added, “It makes me think of cabaret. Money, money, money, money, money makes the world go round.”

Campos noted that he is working with Assembly Member Tom Ammiano on a proposal to grant San Francisco the authority to place a moratorium on Ellis Act evictions.

He’s also working toward legislation that would create a mechanism at the San Francisco Rent Board allowing tenants to register complaints of harassment or other forms of pressure from landlords seeking to drive them out.

His proposal also envisions doubling the amount of relocation assistance that landlords would have to provide to tenants, in the case of no-fault evictions. He also mentioned the possibility of regulating buyouts, by requiring landlords to record these transactions with the rent board, and possibly prohibiting property owners from charging market-rate rent directly after completing a tenant buyout.

Meanwhile, Mayor Ed Lee recently announced that he is working with Sen. Mark Leno on legislation that is meant to reduce Ellis Act evictions. That proposal would require additional permits or hearings before an Ellis Act eviction could go forward, and place more stringent regulations on the sale and resale of properties where tenants have been evicted under the state law.

Just a couple weeks ago, a coalition of housing advocates proposed a sweeping package to turn the tide on evictions.

At the end of the day, it’s clear that housing advocates are gaining momentum as the spike in tenant ousters continues in pricey San Francisco, where rents are the highest in the nation.

"We’ve never been late on our rent," noted Beverly Upton, executive director of the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium, who is battling an Ellis Act eviction. "We’ve paid for every improvement ever done in 25 years. And now we have to leave." She appealed for legislators to take action for the sake of the city's future, asking, "Once the advocates and the organizers and the people who care are gone, who will be left in our city?"

Comments

It's a drop in the ocean, so why all this whinery? Far more tenants get evicted for dumb stuff like late payment of rent or breaking their lease by getting a pet.

This effort should go into educating tenants on how to avoid getting evicted for fault.

And, for that matter, if these people cannot really afford to be in Sf, why are they here in the first place? Why can't they move to Oakland or Daly City? Or wherever they came from?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

and on that note, why can't people who work in San Francisco afford to live in San Francisco?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:06 pm

Area. Not everyone who works in Manhattan can afford to live there either. So they live in other boroughs.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:49 pm

step up with you dimes and nickles to play!

Posted by llkjsfo on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:55 pm

It was so popular with goebblins and other dark minions that they just couldn't get enough!

Step up with your dimes and nickles to play!

Posted by hflkjslsl on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:31 am

then move to manhattan asshole

Posted by hflkjsl on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:33 am

think if they just keep repeating the same asinine bullshit against tenants and rent control over and over again that the elves and humans and hobbits will believe them

even Sauron didn't have minions this stupid

Posted by llkjsf on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 10:57 pm

generate yet another asinine endless broken record troll vomited thread to turn the blog into a cesspool of petty blabbering

Posted by hflkjsl on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:37 am

and still carrying the residual effects from my most recent 48 hour crack binge.

Power to the people!!

Posted by hgdgfts on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:58 am

to shoving the stupey greg/marcos/troll banter to the curb

thank you dorky!

forever in your debt ;)

Posted by hghfhfj on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

Major crisis!! Time to abolish private property and impose vacancy control!!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

and food?! I find your thinking rather confused.

Posted by Guest III on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:48 pm

Speak clearly - lay out the facts!

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

piece of living shit deceptive bitch asks others to lay out "facts"

Posted by llk on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:03 pm

that's what i'm talkin' about

Posted by hflkjs on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:39 am

Errrr - sorry again. Still drunk and high and feeling it after my 48 hour crack binge ended this morning. Repeated viewings of the LOTR trilogy and my glass pipe have fried my brain.

Posted by hflkjs - Sauron on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

by playing ski ball!

hahahahahahaha :))))))))))

Posted by hghfhf on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:11 pm
Posted by hflk on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:40 am
Posted by llkj on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:01 pm
Posted by hgdgftsy on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:43 am

and feeling the residual effects of my most recent 48 hour crack binge.

Power to the people!

Posted by hgdgftsy on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:59 am

with same drunk-crack comment ball spin over and over again

come on orcky!

you can be more creative than THAT!

well.... ok..... maybe not.... ;)

Posted by hgvkli on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

excellent іssues ɑltogether, you sіmply won a logo new reader.
What might you suggest about your publish that you simρly made some days ago?
Any suгe?

Posted by live 6 on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 5:09 am

brightly flagging himself as a punk ass loser

Posted by hgdgfts on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:45 am

also still carrying some of the residual high from my recent 48 hour crack binge.

Posted by hgdgfts on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:57 am

for helping kick the stupid conversation below

down the road

in your debt, we are

Posted by hghfhfj on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:07 pm

or not... Is this "the big lie?"

Posted by hghfhfj - Sauron on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

stupey minyun

actually attempts to imp a randomly rotating handle!!!

hahahahahahahahah

:)))))))))))))))))

keep trying minyun

eventually -something- you say

will not be laughably stupid

kind of like enough monkeys on typewriters.... ;)

Posted by jhdkihf on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

that would be cool

need a time machine

Posted by joiusd on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

ah well

that is another story

to be told another time

Posted by joius on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 1:01 pm

vicious sarcasm all over everyone like battery acid

glad I am not one of her family

the abuse she dishes out must have made them warped bitter shells of human beings

like her

Posted by llkjs on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:00 pm
Posted by hgdgft on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:46 am

Partied with the glass pipe for 48 hours (ending this morning). Just me, my rocks and the LOTR trilogy.

Power to the people!

Posted by hgdgft - Sauron on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

put some LIFE into it monion!

Posted by hgvkl on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

vacancy rent control is good for elves, humans, and hobbits

and bad for dark minions

Posted by hgdg on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:48 am

Still feeling the effects of my 48 hour crack binge while watching the LOTR trilogy on repeat.

Power to the people (or elves).

Posted by hgdg - Sauron on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:03 pm

would not have had a prayer of creating enough bumps without your help!

BUT

your replies are BOOOORRRRINGGGGG.....

get it UP! so that people can actually get EXCITED about you opening up your raincoat

Posted by hgvkl on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

Average working renters are the new gypsies now? Shit, dude, psychopaths have no empathy either.

Posted by Ragazzu on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 10:48 pm

so everyone pays attention to the gypsies instead of the fascists

but these gypsies are actually, faeries, with powerful magic

the fascists are kicking a faerie hornets nest

Posted by hgdg on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:51 am

faerie hornets have sting

Posted by jhdk on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

it was bounced by the court. I do not see how this can be any different. Parties are always free to terminate contracts in return for some payout.

In fact, maybe the real solution to the housing problem is for the city to formally ratify the idea that landlords buy out all rent-controlled tenants, followed by a repeal of rent control.

That would lead to a massive amount of new supply, while the tenants would get a once-in-a-lifetime windfall. Win-win for everyone.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

creates no new units so no "massive amount of new supply."

Posted by Guest on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

when he should just pull out his sword and slice the webs asunder

Posted by lnbgl on Nov. 14, 2013 @ 11:07 pm

of rent control. Abolishment would bring those units back on stream

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 6:38 am

As is inscribed in the scriptures, as is in realty, er, reality!

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 6:50 am

Personally I think it is much lower than that - maybe just a few thousand. Personally I know one 4-unit building where 3 of the units are kept vacant.

And of course others that are not vacant but used for AirBnB etc.

It says a lot for how bad rent control is that owners would rather get no rent than be stuck with a "loser lifer" hoarding the unit.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 7:07 am

Some progressives claim that the Earth is Flat.

Posted by marcos on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 7:18 am

will destroy the species or that cars are evil or that San Francisco has to take anyone who wants to live here who feels slightly uncomfortable somewhere else.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 15, 2013 @ 7:34 am

And that vacancy rate has nothing whatsoever to do with rent control. It is the result of large scale real estate speculators and landlords holding them off the market on purpose to create a false scarcity, whereupon that false scarcity keeps rents high and rising; far higher than they would be in a true free market.

Commodity traders pull this kind of crap to raise prices all of the time.

Similarly employers make sure that unemployment is always high enough, that a core of workers will be always desperate enough, to cave in and accept lower pay and benefits.

And, before you repeat your inevitable broken record reply, of -course- there is no overt evidence of this collusion by speculators and landlords, because such collusion is illegal, and they would go to jail if they got caught doing it. Instead, they make up ludicrous fig leaf excuses like the desire to skirt rent control, when they clearly would make more money from any given unit if they simply rented it out.

The only time that rent control would figure into this equation, is when speculators and landlords believe that there is about to be a dramatic increase in rents (like our current one) at which point they will gamble with holding some of their units (-both- controlled and not controlled) off the market, in hopes that they can trap tenants, a few months down the road, into far higher rents than those units would have otherwise garnered.

But such dramatic rent increases were definitely -not- happening or predicted to happen during the run-up to the 2010 Census which was during the economic collapse, when there was no way in hell that rents were going rise dramatically.

So the only logical explanation for holding units off the market during that very slow growth period, was to create artificial scarcity, and through that illegal manipulation, push citywide rents up far higher than the natural market would have set them.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:15 am

A high HOME vacancy rate is exactly what you'd expect with rent control.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 17, 2013 @ 11:31 am

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