tv [untitled] April 16, 2014 11:30am-12:01pm PDT
>> thank you very much. and we have a number of speakers here. and what i would ask is that i know that there are representatives from different organizations. so, if you can please line up to our left, your right, and just come up. we're going to try to limit if possible to one individual per organization. so, these organizations, the eviction defense collaborative, mother brown, power, casa justa, coalition on homelessness, we heard from the san francisco bar association, the asian pacific islander legal outreach, tenants together, the tenants union, the tenderloin housing clinic, legal assistance for elderly, the housing rights committee, the bayview hunters point community legal services, and then any other member of the public who would like to speak. please go ahead. thank you very much. good morning, supervisors.
thank you for your time and your consideration. my name is [speaker not understood] i'm the supervising attorney at the evictions defense collaborative. it is the primary agency that helps tenants respond to their eviction lawsuit. we do have some limited resource he to help some tenants, but the vast majority of tenants we do not have the resources to represent. in my role as the supervising attorney i oversee a lot of the litigation that happens and i'm very aware of the value that attorneys add in cases when we're able to represent tenants fully. last week at court we sent six attorney to court and five of though tenants were able to keep their rent controlled home, their tenancy. we consistently add more value as attorneys in the number of tenants who are able to remain in their housing when they are facing an eviction. if the tenant has to move, we add more time and get more value from the tenant in terms of money waived or money paid to leave their unit. some examples are in [speaker not understood] in her .50 who
had been living in her unit 15 years. she was living in caltrain in potrero hill. the landlord insisted she move. there was no way they were going to budge. we got involved and were able to help that woman keep her housing. since then she's reestablished her e1 in a new career as a chef and she still has her housing. another example is a 50-year tenant, an elderly man accused of smoking and bothering other tenants in his unit. he was living there for years. never had any problems. we were able to keep him in his housing and got the landlord to dismiss the case after we were able to investigate. there are several other examples i could go on about. we definitely add value as attorneys. when a tenant does not have an attorney they have to move and pay to move. we have a lot of rent controlled units. i would encourage supervisors to ip crease funding for eviction defense services. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please.
hello. i'm madelein [speaker not understood] from hayes valley. i am now the community board member of legal assistance to the elderly. i became their board member from the community because they saved my housing. i am low-income. i am disabled and i am a senior which doesn't mean that i don't do anything. in 2008 i was woman of the year in district 5. i cofounded the hayes valley art coalition. i helped to get the freeway torn down. i started a lot of the shops. i was one of the pioneers. however, along the way i forgot to make money so i could buy a house. anyway, i still contribute and do what i can. i'm extremely grateful to legal assistance to the elderly. so, if there is anyway to fund us more, to fund other groups more, i know so many who are in need of this service. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please.
good afternoon. my name is [speaker not understood]. and i want to thank you for this hearing. [speaking through interpreter] i just want to let you know how difficult it is to be in the process of being evicted. awhile back i was pregnant and had a two-year older and i was in the streets. i petitioned to all of you for help so we don't get eviction. especially families with children. thank you for your support for
attorney such as rapco and other organizations. it's a very difficult situation to be a parent out there in the streets, seeing our children suffering. i hope that a small piece of us live in your hearts. thank you. >> thank you. gracias. next speaker, please. good morning, chair, supervisors. my name is edwin mundo, [speaker not understood], on the board of the bernal heights neighborhood center. and a tenant who faced eviction whose father is disabled, 64 years old. and just recently last month when we were facing eviction, i went around asking attorneys how much it would cost to defend us. they said it would be $10,000.
my dad makes $800 a month. we had support from many of these organizations, having fought for ten years against evictions, but there is a dearth of attorneys who get paid to represent tenants who can't afford it. but on the flip side there are attorneys that make a living on representing landlords to evict tenants. let's just level the playing field. really consider what it would take to make sure that there is the proper full scope legal representation because at the end of the day we're not asking to increase the number of housing units. we're not asking to build huge development. we're just asking for people to have representation in court so that we can fulfill the justice in the court system. but thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. and thank you for sharing your experience. next speaker, please. yes, my name is [speaker not understood]. i live in [speaker not understood] public housing project. my question is, okay, i
understand that -- about these evictions, though. but i want to under about the [speaker not understood] from the wrong side like the gang members, the ones that have drugs and guns and all that in public housing. if you're going to be defending them it seems like they're going to get a clean slate again. i'd like you to keep that in mind. thank you. >> thank you. next speaker, please. good morning, supervisors. steve kohlier, employctionv housing clinic. tenderloin housing clinic provides full scope eviction defense of any organization here in the city. i'm grateful for our funding from the city to do that. we also represent tenants in other cases. i want to let you know that the representation of tenants is funding that services in dire need right now. we see recently an increase in what i would call bogus evictions. a common one is, for example, a ten abt storing thing in their garage other than their automobile ~.
zinni vixes for that. because there is an arcane housing code that prohibits that. ~ seen evictions something causing no problem to anybody and it's meant to harass and drive a tenant out. if i'm an attorney, the system really geared towards tenant eviction removing. i'm glad the bar association talked about the difference between full scope and limited scope representation, limited scope representation is great because it does provide the tenant more time and maybe a better settlement, but it still puts the tenant generally on a path towards losing their housing unless they have someone who is going to be there at trial to represent them, the landlord is going to eventually give up and move ~. so, it is important to have full scope representation. we would encourage more funding for this. thank you very much. >> thank you very much. next speaker. good morning. i'm raphael goings. i'm a long-term san francisco an. i also work for the city. i was also on the bargaining
team of 2013 ~. and i see a lot of people getting evicted and it's very hard for someone who is trying to work a 9:00 to 5:00 to actually show up to a court case where they know the landlord is hoping they won't and they're getting evicted just because they're trying to make a living or take care of their children. my landlord has tried to take me to court ten different times. thanks to these great people behind me, he has lost every time. they are frivolous. i testified against him in a different court case where people were robbing my building and for this i'm being accused of things i've not done and taken to court for erroneous reasons because he knows i work for the city. he's hoping i don't make t. san francisco should not allow landlords to get over on simple misdemeanor things that don't have anything to do with the case because when a lawyer is with the defendant, 9 out of 10 they waive. i want you guys to take this into consideration, please. san francisco is a great city. please, let's keep it that way. >> thank you, sir. next speaker.
i am in the process of being evicted. i suspect that this eviction is due to retaliation because i demanded some repairs in my unit. and anything you can do to obtain more attorneys would be most appreciated. thank you. >> gracias. thank you. next speaker, please. good morning, district supervisors. my name is cheryl akin and i am here on behalf of the eviction defense collaborative and the people of san francisco. i would like to speak about the importance of representation and to ask you to raise the funding allocated for eviction defense. tenants of san francisco and the edc need funding because the law has its own language. this language makes representation critical. we need representation to protect our rights. we need representation to devise a plan. having representation provides a sense of order. having representation provides the best possible resolution.
having representation ensures availability and accessibility for our san francisco community for every person. with christin mercer at the edc and supporting staff, we kept our home in our community of 27 years in our city. after a two-day stalemate with the attorney of the realtor company, christin's tenacity and diligence gave us a position not many others share. i would like to see more victories like ours. please allocate more funding toward eviction defense. thank you for your time. >> thank you very much. next speaker. i'm jamil patterson and i'm representing mother brown's and marcus brooks, too, as well. i come from a community that's played upon for not knowing their rights and not knowing the laws and not knowing what they can do, who they can go to. and we're also seeing this with
marcus brooks as well. so, we had an outmigration issue and i think this also could put some teeth into that as well, and they can make the city look respectable to my community that you're really trying to do something about the outmigration. and it's definitely affecting the african-americans. it keeps going this rate, we will have no african-americans in the city. but it's not just about african-americans either. after that it's going to be families, you know. so, right now what i'm seeing is grassroots is being up rooted and the people aren't really getting much assistance. and i do want lawyers to come in and educate people, work with people. i'm seeing that with marcus brooks as well. but also we need a c-38 second.
we need affordable housing, below income housing, keep people in the city. and black people do add to san francisco. we make san francisco what it is as well as the asians, as well as the latinos, as well as the pole indonesians and as well as my fellow caucasian citizens ~. so, do what's right. stand by us. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. my name is don el boyd and i've come to ask for increased funding [speaker not understood] and more funding for legal representation for all tenants facing evictions. and i ask you to put limits on developers and speculators in our community. i would like you to stop evictions of seniors that are
70 and older immediately. i would like for you all to produce -- develop free zones and certain neighborhoods -- when the neighborhood is super poor, developers shouldn't be able to come in, buy low, sell high, and kick everybody out. i think the wording for eviction should be a more kinder gentler evictions. i think that the wording shouldn't be threatening. i think that we can discuss eviction, not lapped ~ landlords threatening you with eviction. if the tenant accepts the buyout, they should set the time, and the price, the time he should vacate the premises. i think you should make it a crime for developer and landlord to use the ellis act for anything other than what it was intended. and i think if a tenant going through any type of emotional distress, i think the developer
should supply them with counseling and therapy. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. good morning. my name is page kume and i coordinate the ten apartments rights clinic for [speaker not understood] in our san francisco office in the mission district. cjjc supports the request for funding to provide full legal representation for our clients that have been served unlawful detainers especially. [speaker not understood] has found through data driven research clients are more confident and have a higher chance of positive outcomes in court if they have access to these three steps, if they know their rights, if they have access to tenant counseling and if they have a lawyer in eviction court. we want to urge the mayor's office to support all three of these steps. cjjc serves a role in each step. we have proven the valuev of door to door outreach through our oakland model. we coordinate neighbor to neighbor know your rights discussion in areas that are vulnerable to displacement in oakland. outreach includes delivering
35,000 educational pamphlets of valuable resources. and participants have reported increased confidence and decreased fear of approaching the court system and this is what needs to happen in san francisco with city support. cjjc also serves as a link between vulnerable tenants in san francisco and lawyers that can help them. clients served with an unlawful eviction -- detainer come to our office in the mission district seeking direction. they don't often have many other places to go and lot of other agencies are already referring them to us. cjjc tenant counselors help with preparation, documentation and casework before clients get a lawyer [speaker not understood] has been found to increase success in court. city support for this stage is crucial. finally, cjjc refers our cases to eviction defense attorneys. again, with the dramatic increase of unlawful detainer action filed in san francisco, we strongly urge increased city support for lawyers that can cover case after case of residents that come into our office and have nowhere else to
go. so, please support those three interventions that will keep residents in their homes, outreach, counseling, and full representation protect tenants and support [speaker not understood]. thank you. >> thank you very much. any other speaker? next speaker. please go ahead. good morning. my name is jason [speaker not understood]. i'm the housing attorney at [speaker not understood] for livable outreach. we are a nonprofit organization that's been around for 39 years. so, one thing that's been said is [speaker not understood] hits everybody. certain groups of people are [speaker not understood] more than others. our group is one of those. most of our clients are asian and pacific islander. a lot of them are, you know, program who believe they don't have any right to stamped up for themselves, they don't have a right to fight for their rights in housing. a lot of them when threatened leave. since i came on board, i've noticed that [speaker not understood] we add value. a lot of the time all they need
is someone is to sit with you, i'll help you fight. it makes all the difference. my first client at [speaker not understood] was a family of persons, a family of seven with two disabled parents. she was getting ready to leave because the landlord told her to. we told her she had rights, we stood by, the land lord dismissed the case because there was no case. there are lots of cases like this. most of my clients are, you know, significantly marginalized. housing prices hit everyone, but certain people have significantly greater difficulties. so, i would, again, call for the expansion of more funding for any representation for any of these groups that have been marginalized. >> thank you very much. i'm from [speaker not understood] out reach and been doing work taw nonprofit for a very long time.
i've never seen such a pressing need for legal counseling for housing. [speaker not understood]. at that time we did all these chinatown representation. but now with this even more so. the real issue also is about education. our community has always been there. intimidation happens all the time. so, i press on the fact not only legal representation, but the need to penetrate community advise their clients, our community not to be fearful, not to fear retaliation. but we do have to be there in order to move the first step. so, i urge you to, you know, move forward and, again, thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. good morning, supervisors. my name is adrian [speaker not understood]. i am the executive director at bayview hunters point community legal. we are a new nonprofit. we're trying to -- by working with dozens of partners, law firms, pro bono programs and
private attorneys, we're trying to create a universal system of access of services in bayview hunters point. everybody gets representation no matter what their income s. we do this without any city funding. thanks to the support of hundreds of individuals and, you know, just great attorney that work with us. our biggest practice area is housing law and we think it's growing. we have everyone with all the issues, but the main issue that comes to us is landlord tenant law. and we see tons of landlords trying to take advantage of tenants either by threatening walk outs, by harassing tenants out, by doing retaliation against tenants that submit petitions, and otherwise trying to get tenants out of their homes without having to deal with the unlawful detainer system. and we should recognize that landlords have a particular incentive to do this in san
francisco because of the rent control laws, right? if they can get that tenant out, especially without having to file ud, they can increase the rent. and, you know, i think san francisco really gets it. two years ago we passed the civil gideon ordinance. as it stands now, san francisco and the rest of the u.s. still ranks about 64th in the world in access to civil justice which means you are more likely to be able to access -- you are more likely to be able to enforce or defend your civil rights in malawi than in san francisco. it's crazy. i think the city has to support more funding for representation of tenants [speaker not understood]. if we're going to ensure that tenants can in fact access [speaker not understood]. >> and i know that supervisor mar, hold on. don't go yet. [speaker not understood], supervisor mar had a question. sure.
>> i wanted to first thank you for the great opinion piece from the chronicle with professor tim [speaker not understood]. thank you. i was going to ask about community-based tenant services and counseling that casa justa and power raised. does your organization come out of the community defender in bayview or is it established as a brand-new community organization based on lots of volunteers? i'm curious. yes, it's established as a brand-new organization. we started in january 2013. it's not related to community defender program. we have -- right now we have two paid staff and dozens of volunteers that work with us along with dozens of other partners. and, you know, our mission is to create that universal access system in bayview. >> i really applaud you for that vision of everybody having access, not just from government and the public defender, but community-based services. that's very culturally relevant and hopefully that extends to the richmond and the sunset,
many other neighborhoods besides the bayview as well at sometime in the future. but thank you. thank you. >> thank you. and i do want to thank him for his great opinion piece. it's hard to imagine given that they're working in one of the, sort of the most vulnerable communities that there's no legal -- there's no funding for the city for their arts. ~ efforts. so, thank you for doing what you do. next speaker. hello, my name is odelia martinez, and i'm deaf. the reason that i'm here today is to support the eviction defense collaborative lawyers for funding. why? because my rent was raised $750 a month and i was told that i would have to move if i didn't have a lawyer to help me. these people helped me and i
never had to move. my rent was lowered like it should have been. thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker, please. hello, my name is miguel [speaker not understood] and i'm deaf. i'm also here to support the eviction defense lawyer for funding. my rent was raised $750 a month and i was told that i would have to move if i couldn't pay it. and i had to get a lawyer and i didn't have any money. so, i went to the eviction defense committee and they helped me, a lot. thank you. >> thank you very much. thank you for sharing your
stories. my name is shannon bloom and i have been ellis act evicted out of three houses in the time that i've lived in san francisco. i've lived in san francisco for about 50 years. i was with these two people who just talked and helped them to get lawyer. and they would have been living on the street had they not had the eviction defense lawyers that they had. thank you. >> thank you, ma'am. next speaker. my name is carolyn heinkel. i've been a tenant in my current tenant five years [speaker not understood] until i was served with an unlawful detainer. i had no idea i had any rights and went to the eviction collaborative and letteredv about the possibility that i could negotiate staying in my
unit. in my situation the counsel for the landlord was very adamant that i leave the unit and, in fact, a trial date was set. so, without representation from people at eviction defense collaborative, i'm convinced there is no way i'd be able to keep my unit. so, thank you. >> thank you very much. next speaker. hello, everyone. my name is durel hunter. i came here because i was moved behind what's been happening in san francisco with these real estate -- realtors and these landlords illegally evicting people out their homes based on -- because they want to move another tenant in who will pay a higher rent. so, in the process they create false allegations and documentation. and like as you see, some people here can't talk or can't understand eggvlyerction very well, can't speak it.
~ english very well, can't speak it. [speaker not understood]. if it's funding attorneys to hiring more, the city needs to create their own check and balances with these landlords who's going after these vulnerable people to take their unit just for greed basically. that's what it boils down to, greed. and i would like to see the city attorney draft some sort of legislation to fine or punish these greedy landlords when, when the facts come out that the landlord was trying to evict illegally. that's what i would like to see, some sort of legislation from the city attorney and while i'm from the western he edition, there is no groups like eviction defense groups or whatnot. there is none whatsoever. so, i say this -- i know i only have two minutes or whatnot, but my family what illegally
evicted. we hadthction went through like twice. the landlord had the finances to continue to do this, to continue to do this. so, the city needs some sort of checks and balances ~ and i think the city needs to join together in a group effort with the city attorney to draft some legislation to punish and the city should defend, help defend. i appreciate your time. >> thank you. thank you, sir. next speaker. ted [speaker not understood], san francisco tenants union and as you've heard most tenants are getting evicted and we're seeing a lot of evictions these days. do not get an attorney and end up losing in court. so, we have a big need for legal services for tenants in san francisco, especially during this housing crisis. most of the legal representation we have right now, almost all of it, is for tenants who are facing an unlawful detainer or an eviction lawsuit. we need to stabilize and increase funding for that so
that no tenant is going before a judge or jury without an attorney, without full representation. but beyond that, we he need to begin giving full legal representation to tenants from the moment they get the eviction notice. as has been noted earlier, many landlords issue bogus or what we call pretext evictions, evictions which will not stand up in court, evictions for nonpayment of rent. for example, when the rent has in fact been paid and it's documented that it's been paid, the bullying tenants go into court with an attorney knowing they can bowl them over as if they had a bulldozer. so, tenants need to get representation from the moment they get the eviction notice, not at the moment that they're actually going into the courthouse. and, so, we need to vastly increase funding for legal services in san francisco this year, and we need to establish this city as one that says every tenant who is in da