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tv   Mayors Press Availability  SFGTV  May 9, 2022 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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whether or not we invested in this type of housing. yes, we build affordable housing. we are not necessarily building at the rate we should. we set a goal to add 1500 units of new permanently new supportive housing to the portfolio. largest expansion in 20 years. not only today have we met that goal but this year we will exceed that goal with 1,000 units in the pipeline. we are talking about 2500 new units of permanently supportive housing in the portfolio. not just about housing someone. it is providing the services and resources that people need in order to stay housed. in order to stay healthy. to get the services they need to live a life that is thriving and alive that they can enjoy. that is what we are trying to do with the work we do in the city
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and county of san francisco every day. it is the city and county of san francisco. it is a bureaucratic structure that takes a long time to talk about whether or not we keep a ferris wheel in golden gate park and conversations about city government that get in the way of its desire to help people. the fact is this project came together because it started with a vision from tipping point of wanting to do more and to partner with us these public private partnerships with so critical to success. working with acceleratetor fund to provide seed money to move the project forward using modular construction, we would have not been able. this project would not have broken ground by now had we gone through the typical city structure to make it happen.
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not only did it break ground. the construction continued throughout the pandemic. we understood the importance of getting this housing built and getting the doors open. we are talking about people's lives her were struggling on the streets. i don't think there is anyone in the city who doesn't want to see people who are out there struggling housed in a good situation in a place to call home where they can take care of themselves. what we had to do in san francisco is adapt to the challenges. it is not one size fits all. not just putting a roof over someone's head or offering someone housing. it is looking at the entire person and the challenges that could be mental health or substance abuse or loneliness from missing family and friends. so many things we have had to
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deal with during this pandemic. we can empathies with the challenges that exist which makes housing like this so much more important. i am grateful that doug and i do this a lot. doug used to work for the mayor's office of housing when i was an intern. i was way younger than you, doug. well maybe a staff person at that time. i know his passion is his work. when he went to work at mercy housing i couldn't be more thrilled. he knew what itment to deal with challenges of the city and how to be an effective partner to get these projects done and supporting the community we want be to serve. having the extra partners, various organizations does take a village. the village that came together to make this happen 145 units
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with 147 residents. it is something everybody here can be so very proud this city has been able to produce because of the amazing people that want to see good things happen for other people's lives. i couldn't be more honored to serve in this capacity when we are making magic happen. thank you so much for being here. i look forward to more projects to come. let's get busy. [applause] >> i have no memory of mayor breed as intern. i only have memory in various positions of responsibility to do my job as well as she imagined i could. in all seriousness. she is an amazing mayor. we are blessed. for all we wring our hands in san francisco about what is
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occasionally hard about san francisco is the best place where mercy housing can do work because of the tremendous support from elected officials on down. when i first started working in san francisco we didn't know if we would get permits to get projects built. the change in politics in san francisco which is unlike anywhere else in california. you never doubt the project will be permitted. the political support and financial support here is tremendous. thank you, mayor breed, for that great work. a few things to call out some folks before i introduce my friend richard. this project as you heard is a modular project. unique. the two principles which did the
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work couldn't be here today. larry, kevin and rick are here in spirit. ryan -- if you haven't heard of it. take a visit. we hope it is changing the way construction of affordable housing works in the united states and bay area. thank you, ryan and the team. they have gone through covid. they were running the factory in the middle of the pandemic. send thanks to larry and the team. architect david baker. beautiful building. david and team. i don't have the notes on everyone on the team. thank you for your work. contractor cahill has done a work over the years. ryan from that team.
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the mercy team that worked on this. incredible team. sharon. i don't think she is here today. for those that zone know. sharon christian carried this on her back. one of the most talented and most devoted people. she moved to another job for the city. our loss is your gain, mayor breed. sharon and the team used the manager years tremendous to this. thanks to everyone that worked on this development. it has a number of innovations. one on the financing side. when you try to do something different in the world of finance you need the right partners. everybody will tell you they can do something up until they tell you they can't. i think together we chose a
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fantastic partner in city who has done a lot of work with mercy and i have known richards for on 40 years. when he wants to get something done he is a tremendous mover and shaker. richard i invite you to talk a little about this project. [applause] >> i don't generally like following mayors. i do want to say off script here we get a chance to work all over the country in 30 or 40 states in the largest city in the country. quite frankly bureaucratic and as difficult as you might think the city of san francisco is. this is the most innovative project in a city paying more attention to this problem and issue we have to confronts as
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society than any other city in the country. you have a good reason to be proud of what is going on here. at least you have a partner willing to work with you and get to the point of producing a building like this. rebecca said everything. i won't say very much. i have written this. as long as i have been in the business a long time doing this type of work, there is nothing as gratifying as a groundbreaking or better at a ribbon cutting. it is incredibly gratifying to be here. it might take several months. it generally takes several years. we were toke on this one for at least 18 months working to get to the point where we were able to finance it. we have to put together what is a puzzle of affordable housing.
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when they build something in downtown san francisco that is a convencial real estate project it is very simple. debt and equity. when you do affordable housing you are putting multiple fundingtors. it takes mission driven people to get it done. when we are working on it, it is really quite abstract. being here in front of this, being able to talk to the people who occupy it makesiticly special. i was talking to someone in denver just a couple weeks ago who was retiring. he told me that the second leader of mercy sister lillian once told him that she had a thing when you have seen one mercy project you have seen one mercy project.
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in other words, each project and financing is so unique that doing one doesn't necessarily help you on the next one. i hope that is not the case here. we learned incredible things doing this. it was really very different in terms of the way financed. from tipping point to the placement of long-term debt in the public market with long-term lease to the city of san francisco to the use of modular construction. everything about it was different. if there is a problem we have been facing we have yet to solve in my nancing and building -- financing and building the buildings. how can we do it more quickly? i know this is 833 bryant, a new
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name. in terms of costs and speed and the features and the cost per unit is down significantly to allow the tenants to occupy units more quickly. i hope we can learn from that and perhaps repeat a little bit of what we learned on this project on subsequent projects. it is my job to tell you how great the city is. we have a lot of roles in this project. construction lender, tax credit investor and structured and placed the long-term bonds. that is an unusual set of roles for us. interestingly we were an early investor and 30s is the program of trying to develop less expensive housing.
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get up to see the factory. a couple people are here from our public finance group, jonathan bloom part of our low income housing tax credit. it was a team effort you can't say enough about rebecca and kate and what then brought to this project. jan christian carried this on he her back and barbara atner another mercy worked hard to make this a success. folks in the san francisco office of public finance. mayor's office of housing and city attorney's office. also, as i remember putting a lot of effort to make sure we got this done.
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a real team effort. we are pleased to be part of it. thank you very much. [applause]. >> a couple people i have forgotten. i will say we have this at mercy housing. you have seen one mercy property you have seen one. we are out to change that. the other invitation we have talked about another building from the exact design as opposed to starting with a new design for the property. that parking lot we will have a building that looks like this with different on the outside but inside similar. mercy has three partners in la with nonpartners. we have created standard permanent supportive housing
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unit building plan. we are building five replica buildings the same across three developers to demonstrate the power of reproducing something like that. hopefully you will say you have seen one mercy building you have seen them all. maybe not. enough on that. one of the things that i michigan makes our work easier in san francisco is incredible partnership at hsh withenersdency the community services. when we were asked to consider working on this project. one of the first things we said we would love to work on it and have the episcopal community services as the service provider. i am pleased to introduce chris
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the chief program officer. [applause]. >> she was not able to join us this morning. i am the chief program officer. we want to thank mayor breed for her commitment to our unhoused neighbors and ongoing commitment to permanent supportive housing. housing is the solution to homelessness and services we provide allow people to sustain housing ongoing. that is really important. we want to thank everyone on the panel. mercy housing and the accelerator fund, mayor's office and hsh that made this possible. it is amazing. we want to thank mercy housing for long time collaboration.
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we worked in many different buildings together. we will be opening a new building that is also modular design this summer at 1054 mission street. we will welcome 256 folks home to that new building. modular is a new successful building mode. you were very articulate in desscribing the value of it. thank you. services we bring include substance abuse, mental health support and every day support. we have one of the stories i have as housing case manager. i was asked to help fold a
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fitted sheets. so simple. if you can't do it. you have never seen anybody do it. it is a joy. we get to have those daily joys with people. because of the support of the city and these partnerships we have the privilege of moving into the future with the residents that are here and working with them every day. we appreciate everyone. we appreciate the opportunity to be part of this. [applause]. >> we saved the best for last. nira is a new resident. shelf taught children's writer. that travel to new york and other locations. she identifies as gender
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nonconforming. her work is centered around showing readers the superpower of being yourself. my mom was a children's librarian. i am happy to introduce a children's writer. >> thank you. before i start my speech i want to put into context that my story is one of many in this building. it is called you are enough along the way. i left my career in hometown in 2020 to find my art here in san francisco. yes, i am one of those artists. september 2020 was the peak of the pandemic. i didn't know where my art was. my journey was rocky. i experienced street
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homelessness, shelter pace and fro. if you don't know what is sro is you are going to learn something today. at every step along the way what i have learned is to remain rooted in gratitude. what do you have to be grateful for when you stay in a shelter? what you are me it was the beach. when we weren't meeting with housing reps my partner and i would play at the beach all day before going back to the shelter to sleep at night. i believe it was that gratitude that was a window into my next opportunity. during the time where all of the helpless were full i was given priority as a veteran. when an sro that is a 100 square foot single room occupancy opened up. with a praise to live the question brought me here
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returned. what is my art? what do i want to do with my life? what do you do with an abundance of time to live your dreams? if you are me the question will overwhelm you at first. you may spend weeks, months, days, trying to avoid it but officially you will remember how to have fun. when i remembered how to have fun a thought came to me. i want to be a children's writer. what is stopping me? well, i thought it was my 100 square feet. i assisted to my case manager. i can't focus. i am a writer. a writer needs space to write. he advocated for me to move to the aehama. when you hear low income you don't think of this.
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i remember circling the building chanting it is fancy. it felt like a dream that i was going to pay less than $200 per month to stay in a place like this. my first few months i would push the dining table in front of the window to get myself to accept the fact i have a few now. gratitude to me means seeing limit less possibilities wherever you are. here i am grateful for the table i dubbed my office space. i create things to make me smile from that very space i wrote this speech and launched my youtube channel read and play. this week. in less than two years after having moved to san francisco i find myself at the tehama realizing i was enough the entire time.
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my dreaming doesn't stop. when one goal is realized i dream bigger. no matter where we find ourselves along the way i invite yous to gratitude right now for the steps we stand on. it is and so have we always been enough. thank you. [applause]. >> thank you so much. today is unusual. we are not able to offer a full building tour. tour the ground floor. for covid reasons we are not touring the entire building. i want to thank monaco who i forget to thank. they do a great job. you are here somewhere. thank you very much. ribbon-cutting with the speakers. i want to end with a prayer at mercy housing.
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i am not a deep lereligious person. i find this one resonates with me and with mercy housing for many years. for those on the project it will make sense in this context. may you have discomfort and easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships live deep in your heart anger on earth and wisdom to work for justice equity and piece. compassion for those who suffer moving to reach out in comfort and support. may you have the foolishness to think you can make a difference in the world. foolish mess to do the things others say cannot be done. enjoy the rest of your day and we hope to see many more buildings going up. [applause].
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>> i have been living in san francisco since 1957. i live in this area for 42 years. my name is shirley jackson, and i am a retirement teacher for san francisco unified school district, and i work with early childhood education and after school programs. i have light upstairs and down stairs. it's been remodelled and i like it. some of my floors upstairs was there from the time i built the place, so they were very horrible and dark. but we've got lighting.
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the room seems lighter. they painted the place, they cemented my back yard, so i won't be worried about landscaping too much. we have central heating, and i like the new countertops they put in. up to date -- oh, and we have venetian blinds. we never had venetian blinds before, and it's just cozy for me. it meant a lot to me because i didn't drive, and i wanted to be in the area where i can do my shopping, go to work, take the kids to school. i like the way they introduced the move-in. i went to quite a bit of the meetings. they showed us blueprints of the materials that they were going to use in here, and they
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gave us the opportunity to choose where we would like to stay while they was renovating. it means a lot. it's just that i've been here so long. most people that enjoyed their life would love to always retain that life and keep that lifestyle, so it was a peaceful neighborhood. the park was always peaceful, and -- i don't know. i just loved it. i wanted to be here, and i stayed. >> after my fire in my apartment and losing everything, the red cross gave us a list of agencies in the city to reach out to and
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i signed up for the below-market rate program. i got my certificate and started applying and won the housing lottery. [♪♪♪] >> the current lottery program began in 2016. but there have been lot rows that have happened for affordable housing in the city for much longer than that. it was -- there was no standard practice. for non-profit organizations that were providing affordable housing with low in the city, they all did their lotteries on their own. private developers that include in their buildings affordable units, those are the city we've been monitoring for some time since 1992. we did it with something like
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this. where people were given circus tickets. we game into 291st century in 2016 and started doing electronic lotteries. at the same time, we started electronic applications systems. called dalia. the lottery is completely free. you can apply two ways. you can submit a paper application, which you can download from the listing itself. if you apply online, it will take five minutes. you can make it easier creating an account. to get to dalia, you log on to >> i have lived in san francisco for almost 42 years. i was born here in the hayes valley. >> i applied for the san francisco affordable housing lottery three times. >> since 2016, we've had about
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265 electronic lotteries and almost 2,000 people have got their home through the lottery system. if you go into the listing, you can actually just press lottery results and you put in your lottery number and it will tell you exactly how you ranked. >> for some people, signing up for it was going to be a challenge. there is a digital divide here and especially when you are trying to help low and very low income people. so we began providing digital assistance for folks to go in and get help. >> along with the income and the residency requirements, we also required someone who is trying to buy the home to be a first time home buyer and there's also an educational component that consists of an orientation that they need to attend, a
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first-time home buyer workshop and a one-on-one counseling session with the housing councilor. >> sometimes we have to go through 10 applicants before they shouldn't be discouraged if they have a low lottery number. they still might get a value for an available, affordable housing unit. >> we have a variety of lottery programs. the four that you will most often see are what we call c.o.p., the certificate of preference program, the dthp which is the displaced penance housing preference program. the neighborhood resident housing program and the live worth preference. >> i moved in my new home february 25th and 2019. the neighborhood preference program really helped me achieve that goal and that dream was
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with eventually wind up staying in san francisco. >> the next steps, after finding out how well you did in the lottery and especially if you ranked really well you will be contacted by the leasing agent. you have to submit those document and income and asset qualify and you have to pass the credit and rental screening and the background and when you qualify for the unit, you can chose the unit and hopefully sign that lease. all city sponsored affordable housing comes through the system and has an electronic lottery. every week there's a listing on dalia. something that people can apply for. >> it's a bit hard to predict how long it will take for someone to be able to move into a unit. let's say the lottery has happened. several factors go into that and mainly how many units are in the project, right.
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and how well you ranked and what preference bucket you were in. >> this particular building was brand new and really this is the one that i wanted out of everything i applied for. in my mind, i was like how am i going to win this? i did and when you get that notice that you won, it's like at first, it's surreal and you don't believe it and it sinks in, yeah, it happened. >> some of our buildings are pretty spectacular. they have key less entry now. they have a court yard where they play movies during the weekends, they have another master kitchen and space where people can throw parties. >> mayor breed has a plan for over 10,000 new units between now and 2025. we will start construction on about 2,000 new units just in 2020.
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>> we also have a very big portfolio like over 25,000 units across the city. and life happens to people. people move. so we have a very large number of rerentals and resales of units every year. >> best thing about working for the affordable housing program is that we know that we're making a difference and we actually see that difference on a day-to-day basis. >> being back in the neighborhood i grew up in, it's a wonderful experience. >> it's a long process to get through. well worth it when you get to the other side. i could not be happier. [♪♪♪]
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you're watching san francisco rising. today's special guest is monique gray. >> hi.
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i'm chris mannis and you're watching san francisco rising. the our guest today is marquise gray. he runs out of the office of the mayor in the city and county of san francisco. and he's with us today to talk about the recent progress of the sunnidale hope sf housing project. welcome to the show. >> good morning. thank you for having me today. >> let's start by talking about the existing residents of sunnydale and their history. >> so sunnydale was built in the 1940s for a workers. it's the largest public housing community west of the mississippi. it's about 50 acres. pretty huge. about 760 single story units one to four bedrooms. >> i understand it's an
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ambitious rethinking of the residences. can you briefly describe the scope of the program and hope sf's involvement? >> yeah. the work of hope sf is this idea of more than housing. that acknowledging that our public housing community, the levels of violence and poverty that are in these communities are not by accident. you know, it's our opportunity to address a system issue, you know, that people need more than housing. they need health services. resources. economic investment opportunities, jobs and things of that nature. and so hope sf strives to work with our city systems to better serve our public housing communities. >> so recently, mayor breed and speaker pelosi toured the site to both put focus on a national housing initiative and also to highlight the completion of the first new building. how many units does it contain and when will people start
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moving in? >> yeah. it was an amazing event. honored to have the secretary here with us as well in our community. it's 167 units. it's about 75% going back to the original families that currently live on site. so the replacement. so i did forget to mention i want to say real quick, the beauty of hope sf is housing development, new development without displacements or anti-displacement initiatives. so, for example, the building is 167 units. 75% of those units going to families that have lived there in the community for generationings and the other 25% are tax credit units adding to the affordable housing stock here in san francisco and those units are up and running now. they're leasing them as we speak. people are picking their units each week until they're filled up. >> so was this particular building put on a new plot of land or did people have to move
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out so it could be constructed? >> that's a good question. our first building was vacant which you may have saw across the street from this building and then this plot of land is the way we kind of do it, we do it in phases. once one goes in, we're able to move families into the new unit and where they previously were occupying, able to demolish old buildings to build the new. so this area had some older units that were demolished. >> it's impressive that construction has been able to continue during the covid-19 pandemic. can you talk about some of the challenges that needed to be overcome and how the community has managed during the crisis? >> that's a great question. you know, in san francisco, if i understand it correctly, i could be wrong, i believe housing was an essential service. the mayor made a strong commitment early on in the pandemic that we would continue to build housing as housing has
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been a critical issue in our city. so the housing part hasn't impacted us too much. 67 units have been going on its current time line. the bigger challenge for us was showing the families in our communities, low income families had the resources we need to survive the pandemic. many of our families didn't have the luxury of working from home, working in the zone and things of that nature. making sure they had access to covid testing and things of that nature. so i want to give a big shout out to our resident leaders, our service providers across all four sites. for those that don't know, hope sf is four sites. sunnydale is one of the four sites. and so across those four sites, the most critical thing was making sure folks in these neighborhoods which have
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historically have been disconnected from resources have the things that they need to remain healthy, to, you know, survive the pandemic as we all had to survive the pandemic and we did pretty well. we were able to bring back scenes and covid testing on site. food distribution was happening all throughout the week. wellness services and things of that nature were all happening on site thanks to our resident leaders and our service providers across the sites. >> so, finally, when could we expect the next set of residents to be ready? despite -- i guess we just said covid doesn't have an impact on the schedule. when will the next residences be ready? >> yeah. things are rolling. we have block a3 and block b3 to the building we were referring to earlier. and things are on pace. things are going really well. so we're looking at starting construction spring of 2022 and
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that will be 170 units and the goal is to have that lease up around 2024. >> well, thank you so much. i really appreciate you coming on the show, mr. gray. thank you for giving us the time today. >> thank you, chris, and i really appreciate your time as well. >> and that's it with this episode. you've been watching san francisco rising for sfgov tv i'm chris manners. thanks so much for watching.
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you're watching san francisco rising with chris manors. today's special guest is jeff tumlin. >> hi, i'm chris manors and you're watching san francisco rising. the show on starting, rebuilding, and reimagining our city. our guest is jeff tumlin and he's with us to talk about our
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transportation recovery plan and some exciting projects across the city. mr. tumlin welcome to the show. >> thank you for having me. >> i know the pandemic was particularly challenging for the m.t.a. having to balance between keeping central transportation routes open, but things have improved. how are we doing with our transportation recovery plan? >> so we just got good news this week. we're getting an extra $115 million from the american rescue plan and this is basically the exact amount of money we finally needed in order to close the gap between now and november of 2024 when we'll have to find some additional revenue sources in order to sustain the agency. in the meantime, i finally have the confidence to be able to rapidly hire, to restore services and to make sure muni
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is there for san francisco's larger economic recovery because downtown san francisco doesn't work without muni. >> quite right. i guess the other impact of the pandemic was that some projects like the valencia bike improvements had to be put on hold. are we starting to gear up on those again? >> yes, so it's an interesting case study. of right before covid hit, we were about ready to invest in quick build bike lanes. arguably the most important bike order in san francisco. that got stopped with lockdown and then as you'll recall, during covid, we invented all kinds of other new programs like shared spaces in order to support our small businesses as well as sunday street light events for neighborhood commercial streets where streets were closed off to cars and turned over to commercial activity. those successes now that they've been made permanent
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actually interrupt the draft design we had put together. so we've gone back to the drawing board and we are looking forward to having some additional community conversations about other design ideas for valencia. we're committed to completing a quick build project on this calendar year. >> that's such good news. valencia is a really great street for biking. so there are two huge and exciting projects that are about to be or have just been completed. let's talk about the bus rapid transit project on van ness avenue. how extensive have the improvements been? >> what's called the van ness transit rapid project is in fact more about complete reconstruction of the street and most importantly, the 100-year-old utilities underneath the street. so all of the water, sewer, telecommunications, gas lines under the street were basically rebuilt from market street all the way to lumbard.
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the part on the surface which provides dedicated bus lanes for golden gate transit and muni, that was relatively straight forward and we're so excited we're going to start revenue service for muni on april 1st. >> that's fantastic. i understand there were some sidewalk improvements too. >> there were sidewalk improvements. we planted 374 trees. there is new storm water treatment including infiltration in the sidewalk, there's a bunch of art. there's all kinds of things. we put in new street lights for the entire corridor. >> finally, the other big news is about the central subway. can you briefly describe the project and give us an update. >> yes, so the central t-line
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project, another stop at union square that connects directly into powell station and a final stop in the heart of chinatown at stockton and washington. that project has also run into challenges. it's 120' under muni, under bart, 120' down and out under chinatown in some unexpectedly challenging soils. but that project is nearly complete. it's at about 98% completion right now which means we're testing trains, we're testing the elevators and escalators and the final electronics and we're still on track to open that in october presuming all of the testing continues to go well. so fingers crossed on in a one. we're really looking forward to allowing people to have a subway ride from the heart of chinatown all the way to the
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convention center to the caltrans station and all the way down to bayview and visitation valley. >> it's great to see all these projects coming to completion. we're all grateful for your team's hard work and i really appreciate you coming on the show, mr. tumlin. thank you for the time you've given us today. >> my pleasure. thanks for having me. >> and that's it for this episode. for sfgov tv i'm chris manors. thanks for watching.
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>> you are watching san francisco rising. a special guest today. >> i am chris and you are watching san francisco rising. focused on rebuilding and reimagining our city. our guest is the director of financial justice in the san francisco office of treasure to talk about how the city has taken a national lead in this effort and how the program is comlishing the goals. welcome to the show. >> thanks so much for having me. >> thank you for being here. can we start by talking about the financial justice project in a broad sense. when did the initiative start and what is the intent?
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>> sure. it launched in 2016. since then we take a hard look at fines, fees, tickets, financial penalties hitting people with low incomes and especially people of color really hard. it is our job to assess and reform these fines and fees. >> do you have any comments for people financially stressed? >> yes. the financial justice project was started in response pop community outcry about the heavy toll of fines and fees. when people struggling face an unexpected penalty beyond ability to pay they face a bigger punishment than originally intended. a spiral of consequences set in. a small problem grows bigger. for example the traffic ticket
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this is california are hundreds of dollars, most expensive in the nation. a few years back we heard tens of thousands in san francisco had driver's licenses suspended not for dangerous driving but because they couldn't afford to pay traffic tickets or miss traffic court date. if they lose the license they have a hard time keeping their job and lose it. that is confirmed by research. we make it much harder for people to pay or meet financial obligations. it is way too extreme of penalty for the crime of not being able to pay. we were also hearing about thousands of people who were getting cars towed. they couldn't pay $500 to get them back and were losing their cars. at the time we hand people a bill when they got out of jail to pay thousands in fees we charged up to $35 per day to rent electronic ankle monitor,
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$1,800 upfront to pay for three years of monthly $50 probation fees. people getting out of jail can't pay these. they need to get back on their feet. we weren't collecting much on them. it wasn't clear what we were accomplishing other than a world of pain on people. we were charging mothers and grandmothers hundreds of dollars in phone call fee to accept calls from the san francisco jail. we heard from black and brown women struggling to make terrible choices do. i pay rent or accept this call from my incarcerated son. the list goes on and on. so much of this looked like lose-lose for government and people. these penalties were high pain, hitting people hard, low gain. not bringing in much revenue. there had to be a better way.
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>> it is important not to punish people financially there. are issues to address. >> sure. there are three core principles that drive our work. first, we believe we should be able to hold people accountable without putting them in financial distress. second you should not pay a bigger penalty because your wallet is thinner. $300 hits doctors and daycare workers differently. they can get in a tailspin, they lose the license. we dig them in a hole they can't get out of. these need to be proportioned to people's incomes. third. we should not balance the budget on the backs of the poorest people in the city. >> financial justice project was
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launched in 2016. can you talk about the accomplishments? >> sure sometimes it is to base a fine on the ability to pay. consequences proportional to the offense and the person. other times if the fee's job is to recoupe costs primarily on low-income people. we recommend elimination. other times we recommend a different accountability that does not require a money payment. here are a few examples. we have implemented many sliding scale discounts for low-income people who get towed or have parking tickets they cannot afford. you pay a penalty according to income. people with low incomes pay less. we also became the first city in the nation to stop suspending people's licenses when they could not pay traffic tickets. we focused on ways to make it
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easier for people to pay through payment plans, sliding discounts and eliminating add on fees to jack up prices of tickets. this reform is the law of the land in california. it has spread to 23 other states. we also stopped handing people a bill when they get out of jail and eliminated fees charged to people in criminal justice system. they have been punished in a lot of ways. gone to jail, under supervision, the collection rate on the fees was so low we weren't bringing in much revenue. the probation fee collection rate was 9%. this reform has become law from california and is spreading to other states. we made all calls from jail free. the more incarcerated people are in touch with families the better they do when they get
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out. it was penny wise and pound foolish. now phone calls are free. incarcerated people spend 80% more time in touch where families. that means they will do better when they get out. we eliminated fines for overdue library books. research shows were locking low income and people of color out of libraries. there are better ways to get people to return books, e-mail reminders or automatically renew if there is no one in line for it. this has spread to other cities that eliminated overdue library fines. these hold people accountable but not in financial distress can work better for government. local government can spend more to collect the fees than they bring in. when you proportion the fine with income they pay more
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readily. this impact can go down and revenues can go up. >> i know there is an initial group that joined the project. they had a boot camp to introduce the program to large audience. is this gaining traction across the country? >> yes 10 cities were selected to launch the fines for fee justice. they adopted various reforms like we did in san francisco. as you mentioned we just hosted a boot camp in phoenix, arizona. teams of judges and mayors came from 50 cities to learn how to implement reforms like we have in san francisco. there is a growing realization the penalties are blunt instruments with all kinds of unintended consequences. it is the job of every public servant to find a better way.