In the midst of evictions of all kinds occurring across San Francisco, protesters staged their latest rally Wednesday afternoon at a Tenderloin apartment to support Section 8 evictees, those who are low-income, elderly or disabled and receive federal vouchers for rent subsidies.
Several dozen protesters claimed the landlord of the nine-unit complex at 741 Ellis St. is Ty Durekas of OnCare, an online childcare company. Some tenants – many of them Chinese and Vietnamese families who have lived there for more than two dozen years – say they were served 90-day eviction notices on Feb. 11, citing an intent to renovate the units. They said the eviction notices came shortly after a building ownership change in the past few months.
Supervisor Jane Kim previously contacted the owner to negotiate the housing situation and her legislative aide attended the rally. Organizations including the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Senior and Disability Action sent letters to the owner demanding a sit-down meeting with the tenants and that he drop or delay the planned evictions.
But no official response has been made, said Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer, a housing organizer for the committee.
“We have been applying for many different housing options and it's all waitlist and lottery, so there's not much hope in finding a place to move,” said two-bedroom tenant Lan Lam, 54, in Cantonese.
Since the building was constructed after 1979, rent control and just cause eviction protections do not apply. Landlords legally are not supposed to deny housing applications because of Section 8 status, but tenants say it often happens.
Durekas did not appear at the rally and could not be reached for comment.
The rally was important, Sherburn-Zimmer said, to shine a light on an owner who is reportedly providing childcare services but served eviction notices in a building with children and families.
“This was to show that we're serious and we're willing to do more to keep these folks out,” Sherburn-Zimmer said.