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Midtown Apartments Rent Strike Going Strong

by Michael Steinberg Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 at 3:49 PM
blackrainpress@hotmail.com

On November 14, residents of the Midtown Park Apartments in San Francisco's Western Addition and their supporters gathered for a fundraiser and BBQ. The tenants have been on Rent Strike since June against their landlord, the City of San Francisco. which is trying to kick them out.

On November 14, residents of the Midtown Park Apartments in San Francisco's Western Addition and their supporters gathered for a fundraiser and BBQ. The tenants have been on Rent Strike since June against their landlord, the City of San Francisco. which is trying to kick them out.



At the Saturday afternoon get together for community, education, food and fun, I met Midtown tenant Myles Dixon, who told me he has lived there for 30 years. He said tenants used to pay 30% of their income to live there, at the intersection of Divisadero and Geary streets in San Francisco.

" We used to have our own Board of Directors, which I served on. Then the Mayor's Office of Housing dissolved our Board of Director's on Christmas Eve, 2013. That was our Christmas present."

The city then attempted to turn over property management of Midtown Apartments to Mercy Housing, which reportedly wants to impose 300% rent increases on the low income tenants and demolish theirs homes. In response to these outrages, Midtown tenants went on Rent Strike 5 months ago

"They treat us like African Americans who just want handouts. We don't want handouts, we want justice."



The following information is from a flyer from yesterday's gathering:



WE ARE MIDTOWN WE ARE STAYING IN OUR HOMES NO RENT HIKES NO EVICTIONS



No displacement of Black seniors, immigrants, working class San Franciscans and long term Fillmore- Western Addition residents.



SUPPORT THE MIDTOWN RENT STRIKE SAVE MIDTOWN.ORG INFO@SAVEMIDTOWN ORG



The Midtown Park Apartments opened in 1964 as relocation housing for residents displaced during Redevelopment of Fillmore-Western Addition. 104 square blocks were demolished, including many homes, small businesses, music clubs, and churches. 2500 Victorian houses were razed. More than 10,000 people were displaced, most of them permanently. Since 1970, San Francisco's Black population has fallen from 13.4% to less than 3%.



Today Midtown is a close-knit working-class community of long-time Black residents and immigrants from all over the world, including fixed income seniors, disabled veterans, and children.



From 1968 to 2013, Midtown was leased from the City to its tenants. It is the only City-owned property that is not public housing. In 2013, the City terminated the lease with the tenants and awarded it to Mercy Housing. Under the new lease, tenants are now facing enormous rent increases and rules that tell them what they can and can't do in their own homes. Mercy Housing has put forth plans to eventually demolish the Midtown Park Apartment buildings.



Midtown residents have been working for decades towards the co-operative ownership of their homes and even paid off the mortgage for the Midtown property.

Since June, half of Midtown residents have been on rent strike, refusing to pay increased rent. Midtown residents need your support.



Ownership not Displacement! Rehabilitation not Demolition!



WHAT YOU CAN DO:



Call or email Supervisor London Breed to ask why she isn't helping Midtown residents work towards co-operative ownership status: 415-554-7630 or Breedstaff@sdgov.org



Call Mercy Housing to demand the immediate withdrawal of rent increases and restrictive new lease conditions: 415-355-7100



Call Olson Lee at the Mayor's Office of Housing to demand the City negotiate in good faith towards ownership 415-701-5500



JOIN THE SUPPORT COMMITEE DONATE ATTEND ACTIONS Save Midtown.org SaveMidtown@gmail.com



Michael Steinberg has worked with the San Francisco Tenants Union and Homes Not Jails





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