Get ready to talk housing. On Thursday evening at The Independent, District 5 Supervisor London Breed is bringing together a number of city and community representatives to speak to discuss tenants' rights.
The inspiration for the meeting came from the many emails and phone calls about housing problems that Breed's office fields every day. "We want to do everything we can to bring resources to people who need it the most," Breed told us. "We've been helping tenants from our offices, but we want to bring these resources to those people who don't know to contact us."
One of the people she's helped was a man living in The Fillmore Center, who reached out to her office after his rent was raised by over $500. Although he was working several minimum-wage jobs to support both himself and his aging mother, he couldn't afford the increase. "We called the Fillmore Center, and this man qualified for a low-income unit," Breed told us. "How did they let him live there that long and not tell him that he qualified?"
Breed has invited representatives from the Rent Board, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, and the Housing Rights Committee, each of whom will give a formal presentation, then open the floor for a Q&A.
Aside from the desire to serve her district's tenants, the forum comes at a personal crossroads for Breed. The building in which she rents has just been sold, and her future as a tenant is uncertain. "I'm looking around my neighborhood, seeing all these 'For Sale' signs," she said. "What is happening in the city is not only scary, but it's frustrating. I'm not just talking about poor people, but people who work and making a living wage."
"Information is key. Every day, people are facing challenges, but we also have to do a better job of communicating to the public what their rights and options are."
The Tenants Rights Forum will be held at The Independent (628 Divisadero St.) from 7-8:30pm on Thursday, December 3rd. Bring your questions.