China Town Residents Fight Off Eviction
Mr Ji and his wife have lived in the same apartment building on the edge of China Town for 18 years. Ten years ago, their Landlord, San Francisco City College, decided it was time to reclaim the space. All 17 poor families living there – including many disabled elderly who speak no English and cannot imagine another life beyond China Town – were offered money and told to leave. If you think this is just another sob story about the recession – displaced immigrants thrown out of their homes onto the cold mean streets -- guess again. Ji and his neighbors decided they had to do something...something that had never been done before. They managed to keep their apartment by having the San Francisco Community Land Trust buy the land under the building and sell them back their remodeled apartments at an affordable rate. Now they own their building and have formed a cooperative that will allow them to live indefinitely in China Town. At a time when San Francisco ranks top among cities for unaffordable rent, city officials say 53 Columbus Street Cooperative is a model for enabling the poor to hold onto affordable living in San Francisco.
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