San Francisco's public housing, worth $500 million in real estate, was at risk of being lost. "Coming Home" tells the story of how one nonprofit, Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC), transitioned a building from government to community control, saving the homes of 103 seniors and adults with disabilities.
三藩市公屋，價值50億的房地產，曾經面臨撤除的危機。 【愛 回家】訴說華協中心，一間非牟利機構，如何將一棟樓的管制從政府中轉移到社區的，並同時挽救了103位年長者和殘障人士的家園。
As federal funding has declined over the years, San Francisco’s public housing buildings have fallen into disrepair, been poorly managed and have become increasingly unsafe. By 2012, the City of San Francisco had $270 million in immediate repair needs in 29 of its public housing properties, containing 3,500 apartments. The annual repair budget for these buildings was only $5 million, which was not even enough to fix all the broken elevators. In Chinatown, a nonprofit housing developer, Chinatown CDC, partnered with the City of San Francisco to save the public housing in the neighborhood. Mayor Edwin Lee championed a new public private partnership model, the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, in which U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made it possible for the City of San Francisco to transfer management and operations of its public housing to community nonprofits with proven experience working in their local neighborhoods. Of the RAD funds dispersed, San Francisco received the largest amount in the nation.
As part of the RAD program, Chinatown Community Development Center took over management of four buildings containing 576 units of public housing in Chinatown and North Beach from the San Francisco Housing Authority. The San Francisco Housing Authority retained ownership of the land, which was then leased for 99 years to Chinatown CDC. One such building is 990 Pacific Avenue. Built in 1969, it was in need of rehabilitation. As an experienced affordable housing developerty, Chinatown CDC could raise the funding to pay for urgent repair needs and provide new supportive services staffing. The renovation process took over two years, during which all 93 of the building’s senior and disabled residents were relocated to units throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for almost a year. The "Coming Home" project depicts the lives of 990 Pacific Avenue residents as they transition from temporary units and return home to new refurbished units and the Chinatown community.
作爲租金緩助示範計劃的一部分，華協中心從三藩市房屋局裡接手了華埠四棟公屋，總達576間單位。租金緩助示範計劃說明三藩市房屋局還擁有土地所有權，但是以長達99年的合同租約租給華協中心。其中的樓宇包括了柏思域街990號。於1969年起建的，這棟樓宇是極需要翻新整修工作。華協中心籌款幫助交付緊急修理和聘請新的住客服務主任之需。在長達一年的整修期間，93位年長者及殘障人士需要暫時搬離他們的單位到往三藩市內其他的住所。【愛 回家: 柏思域街990號的臨時搬遷故事】述說柏思域街990號的住客從適應在臨時單位的生活到返回華埠社區和翻新後的單位的過程。
In the San Francisco neighborhood of Chinatown, housing has always been in limited supply. Starting in the 19th century, Chinese immigrants settled together and established businesses in Chinatown. Chinese were restricted from residing in other parts of city and used living in close proximity together as protection. As the United States passed exclusion laws restricting Chinese from freely immigrating and naturalizing as citizens, many Chinese, mainly men separated from their families, began to live in Chinatown's Single Room Occupancy (SRO) buildings. Other policies promoted racial segregation, such as the California Alien Land Law of 1913 classified Chinese as "aliens ineligible for citizenship" and prohibited them from owning land, as well as restrictive covenants which barred white homeowners from selling property to American-born Chinese. As a result, Chinatown became increasingly crowded and dense, with the mainstream press characterizing the substandard conditions as a “slum largely unfit for human habitation, comparable with the worst in the world.” (Naya Shah, (2001) "Chinatown is a Squalid Slum Comparable with the Worst in the World," San Francisco News, July 6, 1939, “Contagious Divides" Epidemics and Race in San Francisco Chinatown: University of California Press, (pp.231).
In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt established public housing as part of his New Deal program. The federal government passed the United States Housing Act to improve unsafe and unsanitary housing conditions and address the need for more housing for low-income families. Composed of such organizations as the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, Chinese American Citizens Alliance, and Chinese Six Companies, Chinatown leadership formed a housing committee to demand city officials build public housing in an area that San Francisco Housing Authority Marshall Dill recognized as “notorious for its poor housing.” In 1939, the Chinatown housing committee chair, Dr. Theodore Lee, met First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on her San Francisco visit and made a personal appeal for public housing in Chinatown. Later that year, President Roosevelt signed the Chinatown Housing Bill, designating $1,365,000 for a housing project in the area.
Ping Yuen, Chinatown first federally-funded public housing, was completed in 1951, offering new modern apartments for eligible families, including Chinese American World War II veterans. Ping Yuen North, another family-oriented concrete high-rise complex, followed in 1962. In the late 1960s and 70s, the Housing Authority also built housing for seniors and adults with disabilities at 990 Pacific Avenue and 227 Bay Street. According to Chinatown CDC’s former RAD Coordinator, Amy Beinart, these properties still represent “a very significant stock of housing in Chinatown. Unlike SRO buildings, the units have kitchens, bathrooms, and locking doors, and the buildings have elevators and resources for people with disabilities,” she stated.
Chinese immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia have been the primary residents in Chinatown public housing. After the passage of the Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, which abolished an earlier quota system based on national origin, larger numbers of Chinese began to settle in Chinatown throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Refugees fleeing war-torn conflict, particularly from the Vietnam War, also settled in Chinatown. One 990 Pacific resident, Tony Hoan Tat, attempted to escape the Vietnam conflict via boat, only to be caught at the Malaysia border and detained for two years. He spent two subsequent years at Chelading refugee camp in Malaysia before moving to the U.S., obtaining citizenship and sponsoring family members to immigrate to the U.S. In 1996, Tat was diagnosed with colon cancer and Parkinson’s disease. After a year on the Section 8 housing waitlist, he moved to 990 Pacific. Despite obstacles, Tat lives independently and sets goals for himself, saying he “most wants to restore myself to health and then I’d be able to take care of others.”
華埠公屋的居民大部分都是中國移民和東南亞難民。逐1965年移民和國籍法案的通過，廢除了先前基於國籍的配額制度，在70年代到80年代有大量的中國移民在華埠定居。很多難民因爲逃離戰亂，尤其因越南戰爭，亦都在華埠定居。其中一位柏思域街990號的住客，今年61歲的畢永桓曾試圖經由搭船逃離越南的戰亂，但不幸地在馬來西亞的邊境被捉到。他隨後的兩年在馬來西亞的遮拉汀難民營渡過，後來移民到美國，獲取公民身份并申請贊助家人移民到來美國。在1996年，畢永桓被診斷出有大腸癌，而在2008年，他被診斷出有帕金森症。在第8段住房補助計劃的等候名單上等候了一年，他搬到了柏思域街990號。儘管他有很多障礙，畢永桓仍獨立生活和為自己設立目標，他説， “我最想做的是先把自己的身體調養好, 我便可以幫助別人。”
Over time, residents from other ethnic backgrounds joined the longtime Chinese residents as the Housing Authority changed its policies on racial segregation. While the majority of 990 Pacific community speaks Chinese, the community has been augmented in recent years by the addition of English-speakers from Russian, Tunisian, African American and Chinese American backgrounds. Theresa Barnes, 55, an African American woman, is a proud San Francisco native, often seen zooming up and down the hills in her motorized wheelchair. Barnes spent her childhood in the Alemany and Hunters Point public housing projects, in low-income San Francisco neighborhoods historically plagued by violence and drugs. After a stroke in August 2008 paralyzed the left side of her body, Barnes moved to 990 Pacific because the building offered accessible apartments. At Hunters Point, Barnes observed that there was no “disability advantages in my unit, no elevator, so it was hard for me to walk up three flights of stairs and down three flights of stairs.” Barnes credits her mom for her own ability to relate to all people no matter their background or how they were raised. “I get along with everyone; if you don’t know how to communicate, you can use body language,” Barnes said.
隨著時間的推移其他種族的居民加入華埠社區。雖然柏思域街990號的居民大多仍是說中文，可是最近幾年也多了其他講英文的住客，包括俄羅斯人，突尼斯人，非裔人和華裔美國人。今年55歲，充滿活力的非裔女士Theresa Barnes是一位自豪的三藩市本地人，我們能多時見到她坐在電動輪椅上下斜坡。她從小就在低收入，充滿暴力和吸毒成癮的獵人角公屋長大。自從她在2008年 8 月份中風導致她左邊身體癱瘓之後，Theresa就搬入了柏思域街990號接受殘障人士服務和當地的支援。Theresa說，在獵人角她的單位沒有殘障人士服務，沒有電梯導致她上下三層樓梯很辛苦。Theresa說她能與所有人相處，不論種族，背景或成長的分別最大的功勞歸於她的母親。＂我跟人人都能融洽相處。如果你不知道如何用口溝通，你也可以用身體語言表達。＂
Due to 990 Pacific’s specific building repairs, all residents needed to relocate off site for a year. This created what seemed like an impossible task, to find temporary housing for 93 seniors and people with disabilities who had individual needs and considerations. Chinatown CDC attempted to accommodate residents’ requests, which included some residents choosing to live outside of San Francisco in other parts of the Bay Area with friends and family. For many of Chinatown’s monolingual Chinese-speaking tenants, who have spent most of their lives in the neighborhood, moving away from the affordable, culturally-relevant shops, eateries, services and resources that were available to them in their own language was a frightening process. During the transition, many residents had to adjust to their daily routines to their new neighborhoods. Living at 1190 Mission, Chinese immigrant Mr. Lim Hun Woo, 81, remarked about shopping inconveniences. “I can’t carry anything heavier than seven pounds, so I make a few more trips to Chinatown.” He also shared that the neighborhood’s Western restaurants did not suit his appetite. “We Chinese folk want to go out for dim sum, or eat at a Chinese restaurant, and there aren’t any of those places here,” Woo said.
Many residents feared they would not be able to return home to their units after renovation. Housing Authority partnered with Chinatown CDC staff to assist residents’ through regular check-ins and community meetings to inform them about how to prepare for each phase of renovation. When it came time to move, Chinatown CDC provided residents with packing and moving assistance and covered all costs of the move – even the fees for transferring phone service to the temporary units. The RAD program regulations also provided existing public housing residents with explicit protections: the right to return to the building after relocation, no re-screening of eligibility, and rent remaining at 30 percent of income.
“These elderly seniors took a risk," said Chinatown CDC Executive Director Reverend Norman Fong. "Some of the seniors at 990 were so fragile, they trusted us as we housed them at different places, and we hope they are happy when they enter their new homes.”
Chinatown CDC housed Chinese-Thai resident Orawan Pungpimolkij, 78, in a spacious apartment at 1370 California, a five-minute walk to her husband’s nursing home (closer than the 990 Pacific location). Chinese resident Rui Lian Li, 56, also had her needs met. Because Li’s husband was ill with colon cancer, she remained in Chinatown during the relocation, residing at 761 Commercial Street. Li said, “I felt like they really considered my husband’s situation, so I’m very grateful. Even after he got out of the hospital, everything, like doctor’s appointments, were convenient to get to.”
990 Pacific resident service coordinator Diana Pang shared that she was extremely honored to work with the seniors and journey with them through relocation given that many of their family members do not live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
“For some residents, the move resurfaced emotional and psychological memories of living through war and displacement in their former countries and the struggles of immigrating to the United States, not knowing the language and culture,” Pang said. “As a result of this project, I have built lasting relationships and bared witness to the residents’ experiences. I serve as a surrogate granddaughter, and they can entrust to me their most intimate facts, deepest desires for this community and most vulnerable moments.”
After about a year of adjusting to new routines in varying neighborhoods, 990 Pacific residents moved back into their newly-refurbished units in the Summer of 2017, as the RAD program’s right-to return policy had promised. With limited rentals in Chinatown, most residents had moved out of the area. Mrs. Xiao Ying Zhao Lin relocated out of Chinatown to 1370 California Street and worried that she would not be able to return to her Chinatown unit. Lin was scared, as she had never stepped foot on a bus until it was her only way to get to Chinatown to buy groceries and pray at the Buddhist temple.
During the relocation process, Theresa Barnes moved about 10 miles outside of Chinatown to a unit in Park Merced in the Oceanview/Merced Heights/Ingleside (OMI) neighborhood. While she liked the cleanliness and peacefulness of the neighborhood, located near San Francisco State University and the Stonestown Mall, she missed the affordable prices of shops in Chinatown. “I couldn’t afford anything out there, it’s too expensive for my pocket,” Barnes said. She was excited to move home back to the affordability of Chinatown. Among other conveniences, Barnes frequents True Sunshine Church’s (next to 990 Pacific) food pantry with her weekly HomeBridge caregiver, Haydeen.
在搬遷過程中，Theresa Barnes搬往距離華埠10英里外的Park Merced單位。雖然她喜歡這靠近三藩市州立大學和Stonestown購物中心，周圍環境乾淨和寧靜，但是她挂念華埠店鋪物品的可負擔價錢。她說，我不能負擔得起這裡任何的東西，對我來講實在太貴了。她很高興能夠重返物品價格可負擔的華埠。在華埠的許多便利之中，她和她的HomeBridge護理人員 Haydee也可以常到真日光堂(在柏思域街990號隔壁)領取食物銀行派送的食物。
Not all residents welcomed the idea of returning, at first. Poor management, safety and sanitation were historic concerns under the Housing Authority’s ownership. Resident Wai Oi Tam did not miss her old place and the management of the San Francisco Housing Authority. Tam remembers what she calls a “wretched time...it’s ridiculous my light didn’t get fixed for over a year. The stove didn’t have a light…no fuse. I had to go out for meals! I couldn’t cook at home for upwards of half a year!” Her husband Sing Young, however, piped in, “But management has been much better since Chinatown CDC took over.” Tam added, “Now that you guys have done such a good job, we want to drag our lives out. We want our health to last longer so we can go out and see more.”
同時，最初亦有一些住客不是很樂意重返單位的。之前在三藩市房屋局管理之下，柏思域街990號有很多持續的問題，包括了疏忽管理，安全和衛生問題。今年82歲的住客譚惠愛沒有想念她的舊居和三藩市房屋局的管理。譚女士記得她稱之爲“凄涼的時期…你不可能一整年也不來把我的電燈修好，對不對？火爐沒了燈…沒有了保險絲。我只好出去吃飯了！整整半年不能在家裡做飯！” 然而她的丈夫，今年85歲的楊勝插嘴說，“華協接手後管理得比以前好很多。”譚女士補充說，“你們現在做得這麼好, 我們想長命點。我們想健康的時間長一點, 出去多見識見識。”
With the renovation process completed and with all 92 units occupied, the work of building community at 990 Pacific Avenue becomes the primary focus, as the staff of Chinatown CDC and the residents settle back in their home. Drawing from the experience of managing and owning buildings with majority senior residents, Chinatown CDC continues to offer services including translation, health and wellness activities, and educational opportunities which are attuned to the needs of the community. Residents also have the opportunity to serve and elect council members. A new exercise and community room at 990 Pacific will help foster neighborly interactions. Reverend Fong observes, “This is a testament to community and relations, because without a trusting resident population we could not have done it.”
990 Pacific provides a sense of community and creates opportunity for seniors to live out the remainder of their lives in a stable environment. These residents rely on secure, affordable housing, as if housing costs rise, those without retirement savings or a safety net find themselves homeless without the ability to generate income. Being in a walkable neighborhood with stores, restaurants, and services, Chinatown enables many seniors to remain independent. Lizhen Chen, 72, relocated to her son-in-law's house to care for her kids and grandkids, tend a garden and make delicious soups. But Chen is grateful to have her own living space at 990 Pacific. She did not want to burden her family as she aged and applied for senior housing. Stated Chen, “Say your son-in-law likes it that you live with them and your daughter likes it, but maybe when your grandkids grow up, they don’t like it. What do you do then? As the saying goes, good to see you, not easy to live with you.”
As a result of the RAD program, San Francisco’s public housing buildings have a financially stable future. Under RAD, the residents pay the same amount of 30 percent of their total income, but the project receives operating subsidies from HUD in the form of project-based vouchers that allow Chinatown CDC to maintain the building at a high level: with on-site property management staffing, supportive services, and adequate funds for repairs.
“The goal is to preserve affordable housing," says Rev. Fong. "For these precious seniors, who worked hard their whole lives, they deserve a decent home to live in.” Chinatown’s vision for public housing has been informed by policy, as well as tenants’ histories, lived experiences, and a need to provide for the most vulnerable. Chinatown CDC intends to preserve the sense of belonging in the buildings that the residents have created together. Diana Pang reflects, “The 990 Pacific residents left as strangers, but they came back as a community.” Lizhen Chen likes how 990 Pacific provides both a quiet place to herself and the experience of being surrounded by friends her age. “People like me, who are of a certain age, we all want to be around people in their seventies and eighties, or eighties and nineties," Chen said. "But I also want to be around people who are even older than me, who are more experienced. I want to sit and chat with them and hear the elderly folks’ wisdom.”
方牧師說，＂我們的目標是保留可負擔房屋。這些年長者已經辛苦了80年以上，他們應該有合適的房屋居住。＂華埠對公屋的遠景已經反映在政策上，住客的故事，生活經歷和應為最需要的人士提供服務。華協中心打算保留住客創立的樓宇社區歸屬感。彭詠恩說，＂柏思域街990號住客搬離的時候，大家互相都很陌生，可是他們重返時已像一個社區一樣。＂ 陳麗珍喜歡柏思域街990號既能夠提供一個安靜的居所給自己，又能有被同齡朋友圍繞的經歷。“好像我們現在年老的，上了年紀的，就想融入七、八十歲或八、九十歲的人，”陳女士說，“但我也想接近那些年紀更大的、經驗更多的人，想和她們坐坐、聊聊天, 想聽聽老人家的心得。”