SF’s Redevelopment Agency is supposed to improve the state of the Tenderloin and Sixth Street. Residents and advocates feel they have done little to improve the Residential Hotels in the area, and that their complaints and issues have gone unheard.
One or more scans of original printed documents are included here. To read the text of these documents, please activate the Read the Text tab.
Tenderloin Community Impatient With Progress by Redevelopment Agency
Residents want more input in project area
Abandoned buildings, homelessness, and drug dealing continue to plague the Sixth Street area in the Tenderloin, and community members say that for years the city’s Redevelopment Agency has mismanaged millions of dollars designated to improve the site.
The Tenderloin Housing Clinic, a housing-advocacy organization, held a rally with about 50 participants during a Redevelopment Agency commission meeting on October 8 to complain about the blight on Sixth Street.
Participants presented commissioners with suggestions to improve the area and are hoping their input will be heard.
“The San Francisco Redevelopment Agency has spent over $80 million in its Sixth Street project area, without cleaning up or upgrading the area,” said Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic.
The project area is bordered by Fifth, Seventh, Harrison, and Stevenson streets.
The Redevelopment Agency’s emphasis since the 1990s has been to use funds to acquire and renovate buildings — mostly single-room-occupancy hotels — within the project area in order to maintain a permanent affordable housing stock, said Bill Carney, the agency’s senior project manager for the project area.
Part of the funds is being used to renovate the residential Plaza Hotel at 988 Howard Street and to increase its 34 housing units to 100, Carney said.
This will help replace units that have been lost during the ongoing seismic-safety and disability-access work at the Delta Hotel located at 88 Sixth Street.
The Redevelopment Agency also spent funds on other SRO hotels, including renovations made to the Rose and Knox Hotels. also found in the Tenderloin.
City acquisitions are not enough
In spite of these improvements, the Redevelopment Agency has ignored the conditions of blight surrounding these buildings, said Sam Dodge of the Central City SRO Collaborative, a housing-advocacy organization.
“The Rose Hotel and Knox are very nice, but their neighbors are in Third World conditions,” Dodge said. “The Redevelopment Agency has to stop hoarding all the money to buy buildings and deal with the other problems in the area.”
Joanna Hagerty, who lives in the Seneca Hotel at 34 Sixth Street, said she constantly faces problems of drug dealing, robbery, and excessive noise in the area.
The Redevelopment Agency ignores the input of Tenderloin residents, such as those members of the South of Market Project Area Committee, said Hagerty, a member of the organization.
Members would volunteer months of time making suggestions on the agency’s plan for improvements along Sixth Street only to be presented later with the original plan, which reflected no changes at all, Hagrety said.
I’m just outraged,” she added.
Shaw said that the agency had done very little to help improve privately owned SRO hotels.
Sixteen SRO hotels are located along Sixth Street, and 25 can be found in the entire redevelopment area. Yet after a decade, only one privately owned hotel, the Seneca, had benefited from the agency’s SRO Rehabilitation Program, Shaw said.
Community proposal for area improvements
Shaw and community members presented the following proposal to Redevelopment Agency commissioners at the October 8 meeting:
- Divert $500,000 from the Redevelopment Agency’s SRO rehabilitation plan to upgrade the electrical wiring in hotels and increase the number of outlets available to tenants. Most units only have one socket for televisions, microwaves ovens, and other electrical needs, and tenants often encounter blackouts because of it.
- Set aside $1 million to help nonprofit organizations lease and operate SRO hotels within the project area.
Implement and adopt-a-block anti-crime program to help cut back on illegal activity within the neighborhood.
- Step up the timeline for establishing a Native American cultural center. The Redevelopment Agency has budgeted $500,000 for the center and slated its opening for 2004 or 2005. Tenderloin residents suggested an earlier opening date to help attract positive foot traffic and business to the area.
- Change zoning incentives in the area to encourage affordable housing construction.
Redevelopment Agency staff members are currently analyzing these suggestions, but it is still too early to comment on them, Carney said.