I Grew Up Here

Tiny - Posted on 04 February 2011

I never realized how bad it was until now.  I grew up here and have seen this place transform over the years.  My best friend used to live behind me.  We would tap on the wall to communicate with each other.  I have seen the good bad and the ugly in this neighborhood.  Freedom West Homes sits in the Western Addition, a very expensive piece of property as it sits firmly near City Hall , the Opera House, a school , fire department, transportation, Japantown.  Three hundred units holding people of different religions, ethnicities, economic, and educational backgrounds. 

Every Family has a history.  I can tell you the history of almost every hardworking family that has lived on my block and outside my block.  Europeans, Africans, African Americans, Asians, Latinos all live in this co –op; some feeling victimized and hopeless with limited English skills and a lack of housing advocacy and resources.

Hundreds of shareholders of Freedom West Homes Homes (Bethel Housing Corporation) are going to have their homes taken away from them.  Freedom West Homes is a 300 unit shareholder complex, likely one of the biggest housing projects that still exists.  The piggy bank is up for grabs and this cooperation has been purposely mismanaged by Alton Management. 

About a month ago all shareholders were sent an “Amendment to Occupancy Agreement Carrying Charge  Increase”  The rate increase was not the main issue, however, the amendment itself used wording that suggested that we were residents and not shareholders.  The Amendment also suggested that we paid rent and not a rate.  As a result a meeting amongst only 20 – 30 residents out of the 300 units attended.  So we all crossed out the amendment  and made minor adjustments. We went to the office to turn them in with our checks and discovered that the offices decided to close down early.  We left our payment and “Re Amendment” inside the payment box and  a couple of days later our amendments and checks were returned to us.  The amendments were VOIDED and we were given ten days eviction notice by Alton Management of Oakland to pay the rent  without re-amending the amendment.  David Tse , who spearheaded the movement to save Freedom West Homes helped arrange a meeting with  San Francisco Board of Supervisors Ross Mirikarimi, as well as Supervisor Board President David Chiu. Ross Mirikarimi and David Chu.

David Tse (470 board director of freedom west
you are hereby required, on or before January 20, 2011, to pay said rent in full, or to deliver up possession of said premises to the undersigned or legal proceedings will be commenced against you to recover possession of said premises, to declare said agreement for possession forfeited, and to recover court costs and attorneys’ fees for the unlawful detention of said premises.  The undersigned elects to and does declare a forfeiture of the lease, rental agreement or tenancy under which you occupy the above premises if the rent is not paid in full on or before the above specified date.  You have ten (10) days within which to meet and discuss with the Administrator this Notice and the proposed termination of your tenancy.  Please be advised that you may only be evicted as a result of a judicial proceeding and if a judicial preceding for eviction is instituted you may present a defense at the trial.

As for those who were intimidated and excepted the amendment we don’t know what the legal ramifications will hold for them in terms of their shareholder status. Signed without  proper legal counsel and fear of eviction and  kept it.  Then Billy Hutton from Alton Management tried to charge everyone a  $20 late fee.  The same guy that held up all the checks. 

In addition to this, word is out that by 2012 this federal funded coop is supposed to be fully paid or the the co – op will shut down it s doors to its residence.  Alta management is going to be audited to see if they have been compliant with the federal funding of Freedom West Homes.  There has been so much mismanagement who knows what is going to happen after the audit? who are coming from Washington D.C.?  The Federal Funds we are trying to pay back  This is why the federal government is involved. 

Over the past years Freedomwest Homes has been unstructured and unmanaged and has failed HUD inspections.  Several units are falling apart--plumbing, mold, worn down cabinets, bad carpets, etc.  Everything is coming to a termination point where the federal bond is ending meaning HUD pulls the plug on us allowing a developer to come through and buy up the property.  We don’t even know if we will be compensated as shareholders.  If Freedom West is bankrupt who will pay us?  People are going to be homeless or the developer  will have to pay us for our share.  We are one of the biggest federal funded complexes in San Francisco, if not the biggest.  So by putting pressure both on federal and local levels. The biggest issue is to get Alta management out due to mis-management.
So far San Francisco Board of Supervisors David Chu and Ross Mirikarimi have been approached by residents of Freedom West and have agreed to look at the situation.  Nancy Pelosi’s office has also been advised.

For updated information please see David Tse's blog at freedomwestdave@blogspot.com

Another excellent Freedom West story in the Bay View

This is what's going down in San Francisco instead of City Hall helping to keep housing, they are too busy evicting low income families; plus tenants have to speak up are CAPITALIST will always walk over us. See LAWYERS are making money now by serving unlawful detainers. Been through it and know about it. I grew up at Bethal AME Church; however Bethal threw people under the bus.

Marion Merriouns


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