THC’s early success in advocating for tenant rights led founder Randy Shaw to seek funding for a full-time attorney, to increase THC’s power to defend tenants. This proposal excerpt, submitted in 1981, began THC’s first expansion of organization staffing.
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This proposal is submitted by:
3334 25th Street San Francisco, CA 94110
This proposal seeks funds for a full time attorney for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic to provide legal services to residents of the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco, particularly those living in residential hotels. The purposes of the project are threefold:
to use legal skills in support of the community’s efforts to prevent further conversions of residential hotels to tourist use;
to improve living conditions in Tenderloin dwellings by assisting tenants in asserting their legal right to repair and deduct and to withhold rent;
to provide the legal support necessary for the community to achieve its overall goal of permanently preserving the Tenderloin as one of the last places in San Francisco that seniors and low-income working people can afford to live.
The Tenderloin Housing Clinic was established in the fall of 1979 by myself and other students of Hastings Law School. The Clinic is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization whose goal is to educate tenants about their legal rights and to instruct tenants in how to assert these rights through the legal process. The Clinic is located in the office of the North of Market Planning Coalition, and while it assists tenants throughout San Francisco, most of our clients live in the Tenderloin. Members of the Clinic have been actively involved in efforts to preserve the Tenderloin as San Francisco’s last refuge for elderly and low-income people.
During the past year, two serious threats to the low income, residential character of the Tenderloin community have emerged. First, several of the neighborhood’s many low cost residential hotels have been converted to tourist use. Second, the prospect of the “touristification” of the Tenderloin has led many building owners to allow living conditions for current residents to badly deteriorate. Both of these developments have caused the widespread displacement of seniors and low-income Tenderloin residents, and have impinged upon the sense of security that most Tenderloin residents once felt about their homes and their community.
While I and other members of the Clinic have worked closely with residents to counteract the above threats, our effectiveness is limited by the Clinic’s lack of a full time staff attorney. In the past, some of the legal problems that the Clinic could not handle could be referred to Legal Aid. Federal budget cuts, however, have substantially reduced the number of cases that legal service attorney’s can take. Many Tenderloin residents are thus without access to legal representation.
Amount requested: $15,125.00 (see attached budget)