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root - Posted on 07 April 2003

Poor, houseless families count vacant units in Sunnydale held hostage by HUD/ San Francisco Housing Authority

by John X -Indigent Litigant /Poor News Network

"There is no food available for the children and it's hard, the economy and all,.. with no work available", stated Daniel King, 29 standing with his 2 year old daughter Carolyn and partner, Evette Blankenship in front of The Sunnydale housing Projects with several other homeless families and a coalition of community based organizations to confront the Housing Authority and HUD on their atrocities against low income families with dependent children who are being kept homeless because of HUD/ Housing Authority holding vacant units hostage from the people who need it most.

Mr. King and his family were removed from the Hamilton Shelter on Friday due to a severe bug infestation problem. He and his family were sent to another facility on a lottery basis. This has been his nightmare since Friday

Mr. King has been on General Assistance for 5 months attempting to make his way through the system. His wife however planned ahead and applied for H.U.D Housing in 2000 around the time she became pregnant. To date Miss Blankenship has not heard one word from any body at the Housing Authority regarding the status of her case. Mr. King hoping the law of averages would be on their side also applied for housing 2 months ago as a fall back.

The days and nights of moving his family around, sleeping on cots and no food for his child has worn thin on both Mr. King and Ms. Blankenship but they persevere for the sake of their child.

I spoke with Mr. Jim Williams Director of Administrative Services and Security about the allegations made against the Housing Authority and was referred to a Mike Roetzer, press person for the Housing Authority who was scheduled to appear. After about a half hour I approached a representative from Housing who would not give her name but stated she had made contact with Mr. Roetzer and I was to call him directly as he would not be present today. So, I went back to Mr. William to ask a few questions about this housing development and the mismanagement it is currently under.

His only reply was "that they were moving forward and the leased-up units are ready to
be occupied".

When I asked him about the supposed lease up faire meeting for 3,000 waiting list registrants as described in the information provided to the Coalition On Homelessness by The Housing authority he agreed with my assertion that their was no actual fair to speak of. I had also asked Mr. Williams if any information on leasing as it was completed, would be made to the public on a regular basis, I was again referred to the Executive Director.

This community gathering was designed to count how many units in the Sunnydale Housing Project were vacant. So we set out in-groups to count each section. In my group I met a young lady named Chont'e Williams who was visiting her mother. Mrs. Corrina Rosa's.

" The biggest problem here is the mold" she stated quickly. "We have a big problem with the mold and the dust entering the property". I had asked her if "she felt it was because none of the units had screens on the door?" She stated "yes"," we also get mold on the ceiling." She was of the opinion when asked about what happens when people move out of the units that " they just board em up!" The unit next to her mothers has been boarded up for over a year and half. The one across the way that her friend had live in was boarded up because maintenance would not or could not do much needed electrical work that was needed even before she moved but was put on hold. So, they just moved her to another unit and boarded up the damaged one.

When the total number of units were counted that were boarded up we came to 126 as stated from Jennifer Frienenbach of the Coalition on Homelessness.

In the sea of housing shortages San Francisco Housing Authority reported 1,604 units vacant, 4,992 are occupied (23% vacancy) 223 units could be moved into immediately, and 164 units are ready or recently vacated.

There are hundreds of homeless families in San Francisco. Combined, there are 784 families either in shelters or on the waiting list for shelter. In addition there are approximately 450 families living in Single Room Occupancy hotels at any one time, who are considered homeless by San Francisco. Many homeless families have small children, and are living without bathrooms or cooking facilities.

As we ended the count, Bianca Henry, of the Family rights and dignity project of The Coalition on Homelessness stated, "We have families who are homeless, and others living in cramped substandard housing. Some have been waiting for housing for years. It is outrageous they are forced to be without a place to call home this holiday season"

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