SAN FRANCISCO—On Tuesday, January 15, Mayor London Breed, Supervisor Catherine Stefani, and community leaders celebrated the rehabilitation and grand reopening of two former public housing properties serving seniors and people with disabilities in the lower Pacific Heights neighborhood.
According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, 2451 Sacramento Street (JFK Tower) and 2698 California Street are two of the 29 properties previously owned by the San Francisco Housing Authority that were renovated under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). RAD allows for a voluntary, permanent conversion of public housing to privately-owned, permanently affordable housing and is the backbone of San Francisco’s commitment to preserve and revitalize 3,500 troubled public housing units across San Francisco. Over 2,600 units have been renovated under the program.
“These renovations provide our residents with the safe, quality housing they deserve, and ensure they can continue living in their own homes with dignity,” said Mayor Breed. “Growing up in public housing, I know the conditions that many of these residents have faced. I am proud that today 138 seniors and people with disabilities can return home to these beautiful new units thanks to the work and support of our partner organizations.”
Under the RAD program structure, Mercy Housing, The John Stewart Company (JSCo), and Japanese American Religious Federation (JARF) Housing Inc. own, maintain, and provide the essential service programs for the seniors and individuals with disabilities who reside at JFK Tower and 2698 California. The renovations at each property concentrated on the quality and longevity of the buildings, life safety and accessibility improvements, voluntary structural upgrades, modernization or replacement of original building systems and equipment, energy use reduction, new roofs, modernization of the buildings’ elevators, and resident unit renovations such as new flooring, appliances, countertops and showers. No one was permanently relocated during the rehabilitation.
“I am excited to have two renovated residences where seniors and people with disabilities can grow old and enjoy one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco,” said Supervisor Catherine Stefani. “The rehabilitated JFK Tower and 2698 California will provide 138 quality, safe, and affordable apartments for decades to come.”
The 98 apartments at JFK Tower are part of a unique 12-story building that curves around a shared courtyard and new community space in the backyard. Each home has a colored door that opens on to an outdoor walkway overlooking the neighborhood. 2968 California is a smaller community with 40 homes and an upgraded lobby area that provides a great space for residents to gather.
“It’s exciting to be able to celebrate 138 households returning to beautifully renovated homes in a supportive community. We are grateful for the collaboration with Mercy Housing, JSCo, JARF, HUD, the San Francisco Housing Authority, and Bank of America to bring these properties up to current standards of safety and design for some of the City’s most vulnerable residents,” said Kate Hartley, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.
“The residents of JFK Tower and 2698 California have come on a journey with us since we first acquired these buildings in 2015. The residents, along with our services teams, have done an extraordinary job in creating a rich community. These properties feel different now–they are warm and welcoming, and residents are excited to talk about their homes,” said Doug Shoemaker, President of Mercy Housing California.
“JSCo is very pleased to have worked with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, the San Francisco Housing Authority, Mercy Housing, and JARF to make much-needed investments in JFK Tower and 2698 California,” stated Jack Gardner, President and CEO, The John Stewart Company. “This ‘dream team’ has transformed these properties into high-quality affordable housing for their residents and the broader community, and we couldn’t be happier about the end result!”
“Financing all 29 properties of SF RAD, the largest affordable housing renovation project in the nation, with $2.1 Billion from Bank of America Merrill Lynch is no small feat, especially with the goal of not displacing vulnerable tenants like the seniors and disabled households at John F. Kennedy Towers and 2698 California. The life-safety upgrades to improve the quality of life for these residents helps fulfill Mayor Breed’s vision of providing safe and secure affordable housing, and makes us all proud to be part of such an important public-private effort,” said Ari Beliak, Senior Vice President at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Written By Casey Jacobs