Want Housing? Apply & Vote

by Rev. Norman Fong

October 14, 2019

norman fong

For 42 years, Chinatown CDC has been working to build and preserve affordable housing. It takes a lot of work and sometimes we have to argue with other developers who want to make a lot more money building Market Rate housing (that a lot of our Chinatown community and seniors across the city cannot afford). When I walk through Chinatown, so many people ask me “Is there any affordable housing or senior housing they can get into?”

THE FIRST THING YOU HAVE TO DO IS APPLY. Whenever there is an announcement made about new housing developments first check to see if you qualify (like do you make enough money or fit a special group like seniors) then APPLY. For example: The deadline for applying for the new EDWIN M. LEE APARTMENTS at 1150 THIRD STREET in Mission Bay is October 16th. You can get information and apply for affordable housing on the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development’s website: https://housing.sfgov.org. You can also register on this website to receive new housing application information. Get your relative to help you apply if you have to. Remember though, some applications can only be sent in either online OR by mail. If you send in double applications, you will be disqualified! There are people who want to get into San Francisco’s Public Housing and I always ask, “Did you already apply to be on the waiting list?” (Please note: Currently, San Francisco Housing Authority is not accepting applications for public housing).

edwin m lee apartments 1150 third street groundbreaking
Groundbreaking of Edwin M. Lee Apartments

edwin m lee apartments 1150 third street groundbreaking rendering
Edwin M. Lee Apartments (Rendering)

Chinatown CDC continues to preserve and rebuild housing as well. We are almost finished with rebuilding the Ping Yuen. It took us years and I’m so proud of the work everyone’s done to make it a more beautiful place to live. When we unveiled the new community room, we were so amazed at the new space and have so many ideas of activities to hold there for our residents! When residents are empowered and also treated right, so many awesome things can happen! Are you on the waiting list? So whenever you hear about new developments and grand openings remember to apply and check to see if you qualify. I am so excited about the Edwin M. Lee Apartments because it includes housing for very low-income seniors too! Each building has different requirements and sometimes preferences for groups such as the disabled or for veterans or seniors. You have to check the qualifications.

ping yuen affordable housing
Ping Yuen

Living in San Francisco is so expensive but in a good society, there should always be housing for those who don’t make a lot of money like teachers, seniors, new immigrants, and even non-profit and restaurant workers… Towards that end, we need to make our voices heard and let the city know we need more funding for affordable housing. A lot of seniors in Chinatown and across the city (including the Community Tenants Association) continue to advocate for more funding for affordable housing and we love their support and action!

prop a 2019 cta
Yes on Prop A

THE SECOND THING WE ALL NEED TO DO IS VOTE. There is a big PROPOSITION A… that the Seniors and CTA helped shape by going to so many meetings and events. They wanted to make sure that there was funding for very low-income families and seniors too. Prop A is the largest affordable housing bond ever in San Francisco history! Proposition A is a win win for many of our communities including “Low income Housing, Senior Housing, Public Housing, Middle income housing, and even Teacher Housing. There’s even funding for Affordable Housing Preservation too! So, VOTE YES ON PROP A because it actually takes a lot of funding to CREATE MORE NEW HOUSING LIKE THE EDWIN M. LEE Apartments AND FIX UP SOME OF THE OLD ONES… LIKE WE HAVE DONE WITH THE PING YUEN. Remember two things now if you want affordable housing: APPLY & VOTE! We can do this! Action needed. Maybe next year or a couple years from now - when I walk through Chinatown, I’ll see some our seniors smiling and saying, “We did find housing.” We have to act now – for the future.


Originally published in Sing Tao Daily on October 13, 2019

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