SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, along with SF Board of Supervisors President London Breed and local community members celebrated the opening of the Willie B. Kennedy Apartments on Friday, July 21. According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, the 98-unit development is for senior residents in the Western Addition region.
The complex is located on the former parking lot of the Rosa Parks Apartments at 1239 Turk Street. The Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation owns and manages the Willie B. Kennedy Apartments, along with the Rosa Parks Apartments. A senior center is located on the property site, offering services and resources for local residents.
“San Francisco communities are distinct because of the unique contributions of our longtime residents,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We need to ensure that these vital members of the community stay within the neighborhoods where they have lived for generations. We are proud that the Willie B. Kennedy Apartments will be the home for so many seniors who have given so much to this community.”
The apartment complex is the first development in SF to utilize the City’s Anti-Displacement Housing Preference, which has housing preferences for local residents who live in neighborhoods undergoing extreme displacement pressure. As a result of the preference, 40 percent of the units – a total of 39 – were prioritized for residents who have been identified as having the greatest risk of economic displacement.
Households in which one member held a Displaced Tenant Housing Preference Certificate were given preference for up to 20 percent of the units. The apartments also include 20 units set aside for formerly homeless seniors.
“I am so excited that after such a long fight we are finally seeing the Willie B. Kennedy apartments open to give seniors a chance to live in new homes in their own neighborhood,” said Board President Breed. “The existing and former residents who have been displaced from the neighborhoods they’ve lived all their lives were actually prioritized for this brand new 98-unit senior development. This is a huge win against displacement in our city and in our community. This is why I fought so hard for the neighborhood preference legislation we passed in December 2015. I only wish former Supervisor Willie B. Kennedy was alive today to see what we have accomplished in her name.”
“I want to thank San Francisco for taking care of its seniors,” said Amy Coffman, a resident at the Willie B. Kennedy Apartments. “I am so lucky. I am grateful to be here at Willie B. Kennedy and I love the people.”
Mayor Lee has made anti-displacement and tenant protection programs a priority of his administration. He celebrated the 100th unit saved by the City’s Small Sites program, which provides financing for the acquisition and rehabilitation of privately owned properties in order to shield existing tenants from eviction earlier this year. During the last fiscal year, San Francisco provided eviction defense services for 4,000 households and tenant counseling services for 3,000 households.
The Anti-Displacement Housing Preference for Willie B. Kennedy was the result of months of engagement between House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, United States Senator Dianne Feinstein, Mayor Lee, Board President Breed and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The apartments are named after Willie B. Kennedy, a longtime San Francisco Supervisor who was a champion of minority and women-owned businesses. Kennedy was appointed to the City’s Human Rights Commission and the Redevelopment Agency Commission, before serving 15 years on the Board of Supervisors. She passed away in 2013.