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Fog City Journal

Civic Center Residence Celebrates Grand Re-Opening

by Luke Thomas

Residents of a rehabilitated single residency occupancy hotel in the Tenderloin were treated Thursday to a celebration of its grand re-opening.

On hand to mark the occasion included Mayor Ed Lee and District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim.

The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s (TNDC) upgrade to the Civic Center Residence, located at 44 McAllister, included the construction of additional units of low-income housing, a seismic retrofit, plumbing and electrical overhauls, two new elevators, new shower rooms on each of the eight floors, and upgraded common room facilities including three community kitchens.

Financing for the $30 million project included funding from the Mayor’s Office of Housing and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk. Additional funding was derived from private financing.

“In that sense, it’s truly a community effort,” Falk said during opening remarks. “We cannot do these things alone.”

“This is our model for preserving affordable housing in San Francisco and throughout the country, and for another 30 years it is going to provide an affordable home for generations of low-income people,” Falk added.

The 105 units added to the hotel travels some distance in achieving the City’s ten-year program to end homelessness in San Francisco, a program former Board of Supervisors President Angela Alioto spearheaded with the assistance of then Mayor Gavin Newsom. The program, which has created 1,800 units to date, aims to create 3,000 units of low-income housing by 2014.

“I’m sure people like Angela Alioto who helped us write that program would be proud to see over a hundred of these units dedicated to that program,” Mayor Lee said, adding, “I think we have a lot to celebrate because not only is it a complex thing to do in a very needy community, but it accomplishes so many other goals that the city has articulated and are really, really important.”

Supervisor Jane Kim who represents the Tenderloin neighborhood paid particular tribute to TNDC in its effort to help end homelessness.

“The Mayor’s office and the Board of Supervisors works really hard to squeeze every dollar that we can to ensure that organizations like TNDC can do the good work that they’re doing to create better equity and more opportunities for the residents of San Francisco,” Kim said. “We do a lot of work around the budget but it’s actually the work of organizations like TNDC and others, that are making the actual difference for the people of San Francisco.”

Evidence of the happiness brought to the residents of the Civic Center Residence hotel was apparent during a tour of the building, Mayor Lee said.

“It’s all smiles whether they are in a wheelchair, or with a cane, or whether they are walking freely – they live here with a smile because they know that they’ve got a great place to live for long, long time,” he said.

“It’s wonderful to be here,” said Elijah Glasper, 63, a resident and TNDC board member. “I’ve got a roof over my head.”