“Happy Holidays, Now Get the Hell Out”: Stop San Francisco Ellis Act Evictions!

IMG_2103_1Organizers from the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, San Francisco Tenants Union, Senior & Disability Action, AIDS Housing Alliance, Causa Justa::Just Cause, Chinatown Community Development Center, Occupy Bernal, Occupy Action Council SF, and other supporters gathered at 12:00 noon on December 19, 2012, to protest a rash of Ellis Act evictions of tenants living in San Francisco. A number of tenants spoke to the crowd in front of the Christmas tree on Castro Street near 18th Street, explaining how they are facing eviction in neighborhoods all over San Francisco when property owners use the Ellis Act to take the property off the rental market as an excuse for evicting them from their homes, including some who are seniors, disabled, living with AIDS, and/or have lived in their homes for decades. Representatives of various organizations spoke and the crowd chanted, displaying protest signs and banners.

Media Coverage: SF Chronicle

Thanks to Peter Menchini for first video below:

San Francisco Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance Press Conference

Update: see press conference videos and photos below

Link: Text of Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance (proposed)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, June 4, 2012
Contact: Angela D’Anna, Assessor-Recorder’s Office 415-554-7434
Raquel Redondiez, Supervisor Avalos’ Office 415-554-7896

*** MEDIA ADVISORY ***
Supervisor John Avalos and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting announce Ballot Initiative to Make Banks Pay Their Fair Share and Keep Homeowners in Their Homes

WHO: Supervisor John Avalos
Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting

WHAT: Announcing the Foreclosure Fairness Ordinance eliminating a transfer tax exemption given to banks and lenders, this ordinance aims to make banks and lenders pay their fair share of taxes and to help keep homeowners in their homes.

WHEN: Monday, June 4th, 2012, 12:00pm, noon

WHERE: City Hall, Polk Street Steps
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
San Francisco, CA 94102



Videos of Press Conference


Photos of Press Conference

Victory for Three Families Facing Eviction

Causa Justa : Just Cause reports on the victory of three families facing eviction by U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo:

Link: Victory for Three Families Facing Eviction
kids_vs_us_bank

It seems public outcry and bad press shamed US Bank and Wells Fargo into dropping attempts to evict three families in the Excelsior. They took the eviction action off the court calendar, giving some breathing room to three Latina moms and their children living in the Excelsior district. It took two housing rights organizations with over 25 years of experience shared between them: CJJC and the Housing Rights Committee, several weeks to unravel a tangle of bureaucracy and find out exactly WHO and WHAT bank was actually responsible since they both kept pointing the finger at each other!After tons of calls to many different people at both banks, we finally found out that US Bank hired Wells Fargo to service the property.

The servicer, Wells Fargo just confirmed this week in a meeting with Causa Justa :: Just Cause and the Housing Rights Committee that they will
•    Not evict the families;
•    Pay all utilities;
•    And make repairs to the units.

We told you about these families last month when we gathered in front of US Bank on 16th & Mission Streets for a press conference to stop their eviction. You can read media stories about it herehere and here

So all in all, we are thrilled with the outcome of this case, but also painfully aware that it took mass mobilization, community collaboration, and pressure to find out even the simplest information, such as who now oversees the property.

This case exemplifies the struggles that many tenants living in foreclosed properties face daily not only here in the Bay Area, but across the state and nationally.These families are the face of the hidden victims of the foreclosure crisis and their struggle shows that when banks take over possession of foreclosed properties they very often violate tenant’s rights.

Now more than ever we need to hold banks such as US Bank and Wells Fargo accountable to local, state, and federal protections for tenants to avoid further displacement.

These families suffered through fighting an unjust eviction proceeding, facing the anxiety of possible utility shut –off, all the while not knowing who to turn to in order to maintain the property in habitable condition. If the bank admits that they are the present owner and by their documents have the power to evict or demand rent payment, then they and only they can be responsible for maintaining the property.

kids_vs_banks4

These mothers and their children who were brave enough to share their story so that it would be known widely and who were not afraid to confront not one but two banks are a true inspiration! Now as members of CJJC they will continue to share their story and hope to help other tenants who live in foreclosed properties and face similar abuses.

Tenants Rights Organizations Defend Renters Facing Foreclosure Eviction

Groups including Causa Justa / Just Cause, the Coalition on Homelessness and the Housing Rights Committee, protested at the US Bank branch at 16th St and Mission St to prevent US Bank and Wells Fargo from illegally evicting three single mothers and their children renting an Excelsior home.

It’s important for tenants to know their rights under the law and to seek help if a landlord or a bank tells them they have to move out. Renters facing evictions can contact the Housing Rights Committee of SF, Causa Justa / Just Cause, or the SF Tenants Union for counseling on their rights.

Link: Video Thanks to Bill Carpenter

Feel free to republish photos below with attribution to OccupyEvictions.org.

Related Organizations

Below are various organizations related to the Occupy the Auctions and Evictions campaign here in San Francisco, even though they haven’t officially endorsed the campaign.

Links: Organizations    Add/Edit an Organization