Thursday, September 04, 2014

Landlord Keeps Promise; Fire Survivors Move-back at Old Rents
By Todd Swindell and Michael Petrelis

(Cross-posted from our campaign site.)

Here's a feel-good San Francisco housing story that there are so few of these days. The owner of the rental apartments at Valencia and Duboce Streets,
Fuad (Fred) Ateyeh, is allowing all former tenants to move-back into their units at the old rents more than two-years after the building suffered a damaging fire.

While rent stabilization laws require landlords to give tenants this option, we've heard horror stories of renters having to wage battles to return so we were very happy to hear Fuad say he was keeping his word to the tenants and the neighborhood because it's the right thing to do.

We spoke with Fuad on Friday and he told us the elderly woman tenant originally from Nicaragua who's been living in a temporary housing unit through the American Red Cross, Angelina Gamez, can't wait to move back to her former unit and her neighborhood.

The multi-alarm fire broke out mid-morning on a Sunday in early May 2012 and was contained and put out by the San Francisco Fire Department. Soon thereafter, the nearby San Francisco Friends School's community liaison Guybe Slangen coordinated a number of meetings and clothing drive, while the Bahai Center and neighbors, local small businesses and the Red Cross, all mobilized to help our displaced friends and neighbors.

We contributed to the effort by posting signs about meetings and fundraisers around the area, and taking them down afterward, and also obtaining and sharing the fire department's inconclusive report on the fire, and donating funds. Longtime local activist Karen Babbitt established this web site about the fire and efforts to assist the displaced folks,, and it's a great resource of background info.

Soon, we'll be welcoming our neighbors back to their homes and a small part of District 8 will share in their joy when they return to living at Valencia and Duboce Streets.

Here's a photo of Fuad with the refurbished apartment building behind him.

No comments: