tv [untitled] April 16, 2014 6:30pm-7:01pm PDT
discussed, we note that the proposed appropriation includes the 30.2 million in construction and design costs for the plot 70 development project which cannot be completed without additional board of supervisors approval of the environmental review findings in accordance with the california environmental quality act. so, our recommendations on page 19 are that we recommend that you amend the proposed ordinance as file 1403 32 to request the appropriation 40,9 29 [speaker not understood] budget and finance committee reserve, pending approval of the board of supervisors by the c-e-q-a findings for this project and we recommend that you approve the proposed resolution file 1403 27 and the proposed ordinance file 1402 32 as amended. i'd be happy to respond to any questions, supervisors. >> thank you, mr. rose. colleagues, any questions at this time? okay, why don't we open this up to public comment. anybody wish to comment on items 3, 4 or 5?
my only question is how -- will there be any unexpected delays with the construction on the new airport? and if so, how long would that be? >> okay. anybody else wish to comment publicly on these items? seeing none, public comment is closed. [gavel] >> i would just say i'm sure at this point there are no anticipated delays in the construction schedule, but you never know what happens in the future and i'm faithful that the sfo staff will make sure that is the case and they will work on that diligently. colleagues, we have three item to approve here. item number 3, we have a budget analyst recommendation to approve condition on the board of supervisors approval. can i take a motion to amend item number 3? >> so moved. >> as such, madam clerk?
>> i believe the amendment for item number 4. >> i'm sorry, item number 3 was -- mr. rose, can i double-check here? sorry, my notes are confusing. item number 3 your recommendation was to approve that? no amendments? >> that is correct, supervisor. >> okay. so, colleagues, first a motion to approve item number 3. >> so moved. >> we take that without objection. [gavel] >> and then that item number 4 was to approve a contingent -- mr. rose, can we go to you again on item number 4 now specifically, can we go to your recommendation, the amendments we need to consider here? >> what we're suggesting, supervisors, is that based on the completion of the, of the
c-e-q-a, that you approve the proposed resolution -- excuse me. this is number -- mr. chairman, you were asking me about -- >> for items 4 and 5 i want to go through -- item number 4, just restate recommendation. >> i just want to clarify something. we're recommending the budget and finance committee reserve on the 32.2 million for the plot 700 very many. and the wording should say upon completion of c-e-q-a. >> and this is for item number 4? >> yes. >> okay. >> correct. >> that was your only recommendation for item 4? >> that's correct. >> so, colleagues, can i have a notion to accept that without amendment? [gavel]. >> line item? >> so moved. [gavel] >> mr. row, item number 5, so that's clean as well. >> item 5 is clean ~. 033 2
with no amendments. >> okay. so, motion to approve item number 5? >> i was thinking it was more slick than clean, but we'll go with clean. second. >> we can take that without objection. [gavel] >> okay. madam clerk -- >> mr. chair? >> yes. >> i would like to request the department submit the amended ordinance to our office before 9:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. >> okay. [speaker not understood] from the airport. thanks very much. madam clerk, call one item out of order here because a lot of people are waiting. can you call item number 9, please? >> item number 9 is a hearing on the availability of legal assistance and representation for tenants facing eviction in san francisco, specifically how many housing attorneys are supported by city funding and how many attorney would be needed so that every tenant facing eviction in san francisco will have access to legal representation. >> okay, thank you very much. this item was sponsored by supervisor campos. so, supervisor, i'll let you take it away. >> thank you very much, mr.
chairman. and i want to thank mr. rose for not recommending the elimination of my position just yet. but i do want to be very brief in this item and i want to thank you, mr. chairman, and the committee, for giving us the opportunity to go out of order. and we have a number of speakers, just so you know, most of the speakers have agreed to simply have one person speak for the various organizations that are here because we know that the committee has a very full agenda today. we all know that san francisco is facing an affordability crisis. we have the highest rent in the country. 3,400 is the median, that the median home price for a house in san francisco is a million dollars, and we know that hundreds of tenants are being evicted as a result of that. we also know that here in san francisco the board of supervisors, the mayor's office has responded to deal with this crisis through a number of
measures, including most recently the relocation assistance measure that increases the amount of relocation. the fact is, though, that we can pass all the laws that, that, that are needed, but unless people are able to avail them self-of the benefits of those laws, the laws are not going to end up helping the people that need the help. ~ themselves we asked the budget analyst to do a brief report and we ant to thank him and his staff as always for the expeditious completion of that work to look into the question of how many tenants who are facing eviction and displacement are actually being represented by counsel. i personally was shocked to see the findings, and the findings were that in 2012 there were 3,695 unlawful detainers filed in san francisco superior court and only 478 of though tenants were actually less than 13% of
tenants were actually represented by legal counsel ~. the numbers are not that much better in 2013. 3,4 23 unlawful detainer actions ~ and only 17% of tenants were represented by counsel. and the statistics show that when a tenant is facing eviction, if that tenant is represented by counsel, he is many time more likely to actually stay in their home than someone who is not. and, so, the purpose of this hearing is to underscore that part of the strategy to address the crisis of evictions in displacement has to be how do we ensure that tenants actually have the legal support that is needed, that they need to make sure they survive that eviction. with that, i want to ask the public defender of san francisco, jeff hadachi, who has been working on this issue with us. i don't know if jeff is here. i don't see jeff.
if he can say just a brief few words before we go on to public comment. mr. hadachi. >> thank you. good morning, supervisors. i'm here to express my support for expanding legal services for landlord tenant representation. although i'm a public defender, my efforts of focusing representation of residents accused of a crime, i've seen a great need for legal services in other areas, specifically housing rights, child custody, and family law. san francisco, as you know, is experiencing a grave housing crisis. as a result, thousands of people are being evicted. according to the budget analyst report, there were 3,362 evictions last year in san francisco. the budget analyst has pointed out that it larch the actual
number of evictionses are much greater because not ali vixes are ~ reported. most of the people are without any legal assistance through this eviction process. of the eviction that were actually fought, approximately 90% of tenants did not have any lawyer or any legal assistance. many of these tenants have been forced to move away from san francisco and others have become homeless. as public defender, i've seen the impact that these evictions have had on our city's poorest residents. we represent about 20,000 people every year. one of the areas that we are experiencing the largest number evictions among our clients is section 8 housing. many of the residents are being evicted without having any access to legal services and without knowledge of their rights. it is very frustrating to me because we can only provide representation as to the criminal process, not to these other essential areas. now, in san francisco, the city does provide funding to agencies that does provide
representation to those who needy vix assistance, and obviously the mayor's office of housing brian chew is ~ chu is here as well jeff barkley. the reality is there are a dozen lars who are funded to focus on evictions. and we estimate that at least ~ twice the number of lawyers is needed to meet the demand that's been identified just by the budget analyst to deal with unlawful detainer and eviction actions. currently only 10% of individuals facing unlawful detainer actions are receiving full scope representation, where over 90% of landlords have expert eviction attorneys representing them. it is also necessary to provide legal assistance early on in the process. there are thousands of tenants who never reach the unlawful detainer stage because they are unaware of their rights and they do not have access to legal assistance or a lawyer and they agree to move out and they agree to a buyout and they
don't have the ability to know and exercise their rights. in other counties and states across the nation, there has been a call for free representation in housing cases. jim who is a partner in morris and forrester has been a strong advocate for this. new york's legal aid program which is the equivalent of the public defender there also provides legal assistance to those facing eviction as part of the representation they provide. other states are extending the right to counsel in matters where important rights are being impacted. housing is one of those critical rights. san francisco should be a leader in providing legal assistance to those who need it. now, we already have a network of legal service providers in our city that do a great job of providing eviction defense, but there is no way that they can handle the demand given the crisis we're experiencing. we need to ensure that they
have the funding and staffing necessary to provide representation in these cases. a recent harvard study found that people who are facing eviction and receiving legal representation are two-thirds more likely to keep their residences than those without. another study in san mateo found that tenants who received full scope legal representation receive "outcome comes far superior to those who got a little or no legal assistance." so, legal assistance makes a huge difference in the outcome of whether a person is aloud to stay. the budget analyst has done a good job of describing the program. their statistics fully support what we're asking for here. the report amply demonstrates there is a great need in our city for legal aid for tenants who are being evicted. so, what's the solution? i would start with providing more funding to provide attorneys to work an eviction defense. i would increase the 12 attorneys to at least 24.
and also fund parallel support. this will have the impact of providing legal representation to those tenants who are not currently being represented and lawful detainer actions and evictions. ~ paralegal i also think there need to be lawyers available to provide advice to thousands of people who have been offered a buyout or harassed out or choose not to contest their eviction, but still need legal advice. these san franciscans need help and lawyers can be assigned to various hot spots throughout the city where the largest number of evictions are occurring. they can be assigned to communities such as bayview hunters point where there is a legal clinic now that is not receiving any support from the city. we can reduce the number of eviction cases also if we require mandatory mediation in lieu of litigation and ali vix actions from city-funded housing ~. this could actually reduce the number of forced eviction cases by 25 to 40%. so, again, this will reduce the
need for lawyers by reducing the number of cases. another would be to mandate that the s-r-o housing staff assign a social worker to individuals who are having difficulties meeting their responsibility as tenants due to poverty, mental health, financial crises, and substance abuse. there also needs to be a way to stabilize funding to the agencies that provide these services. currently there is a gap in the flow of services since the, for example, the eviction defense collaborative which holds most of the contracts where city funding is given to other agencies. we don't get their funding until july and that funding is not received until october. this means that agencies must often reduce its staffing before it learns of its funding award and then has to hire new staff once that funding becomes available. this disrupts services and makes it difficult if not impossible for the eviction defense collaborative to properly manage staffing and
funding to its contractors. how does the board know these resources would solve the problem? i would again turn to mr. rose's office and ask them to do an analysis, which is needed, to figure out what is needed to solve this problem that they have identified. it's critical that we come together as a city and ensure that the agencies that provide assistance to those who need legal representation in eviction cases are properly funded and resourced. thank you. i also have a copy of a opinion editorial that was in today's chronicle in case you didn't see that. thank you. >> thank you, mr. public defender. before we go to public comment, i want to briefly ask our sheriff who i know that he and his office also have a role to play when it come to eviction defense. sheriff mirkarimi. >> thank you, mr. supervisor,
supervisor campos, colleague, former colleagues. we were here for another matter. glad to hear that this hearing is taking place. the sheriff's department is the agency of last resort. the over 1500 evictions that have taken place last year similar to previous years are all administered by the san francisco sheriff's department. out of concern about the number of evictions taking place and the intensity of the evictions that in itself were taking place, we had asked in our budget last year for the support, the funding for the eviction assistance unit so that we can assist people to try to rebound from the eviction process so they're not made homeless. we're concerned that if there
is any intervention when the nonprofits on behalf of somebody being evicted occur, that the order of time -- by the time a writ comes down from the courts for the eviction itself leaves very little time in itself. so, even if well resourced, members of the nonprofit advocate community are enabled to help cushion this particular blow and this reality. still, you can imagine by the sheer volume and scale of evictionses that come to us, then that's it ~. and it's the sheriff, myself, who exercises based on statutory authority some discretion that allows us to be able to make sure that it is -- that somebody is not being unfairly displaced. but we don't have the legal staff in our own office to even
evaluate that particular process. so, very minimum, i would certainly like our ability to help people not become homeless and working with whoever the resourced organizationses are to advocate for people that are being evicted ~. ellis act evictions is certainly what's been on the press as attention in the media for quite sometime. but that pales in comparison to the other eviction categories that are taking place in san francisco. and i would encourage the board of supervisors for future hearings on funding for the organizations that are here to also consider us in being resourced in the eviction assistance unit because we are doubling our staff up to try to help people find housing so that they're not being evicted or when they're being evicted have something alternative to. thank you. >> thank you. and i know that we have here
brian chu, jeff buckley from the mayor's office of housing. we look forward to working in the near future to come up with a proposal around this issue. ~ mayor's office i know there is a short time, so, turn it over to public comment. and if i may, i'd like to begin by asking the dean of usf law school, john [speaker not understood] who is here. dean [speaker not understood], thank you very much for taking time out of your schedule to be here. i know that we're giving each person two minutes. so, dean. >> i thought it was one minute. i want to thank you for your leadership and the comments of public defender this morning. it is a very important issue. you heard about the measurement of the quality of need in san francisco. another is the quality of the resolution of disposition of cases. you, this board has led the way for tenant protections, both tenant protections if there is not a lawyer there to make sure those are carried out in court, it's as if you didn't pass
them. i happen to serve on a jury, a three-day trial, a [speaker not understood] case. we came back in 7 minutes as a jury. if the tenant had had an attorney and had legal representation, it would have been a much different disposition, probably would not have had to go to court. so, the role of the attorneys is both to make sure your protections are in place, but also to counsel and help people in need so that the quality of decisions are made on the merits. finally, what i would like to say, too, is that usf will be offering an eviction defense course starting next spring. with that we'll provide up to 20 students who will be in this class, [speaker not understood] five or six ex tern ships so they will support families in this air i can't tellv so, again, i thank the leadership
of supervisor campos and the board for making this happen. thank you. >> thank you, dean [speaker not understood]. i also would like to call upon the president of the san francisco bar association, stephanie scape who is here. madam president, thank you for being here. >> thank you. i am stephanie scape. i'm the president of the bar association of san francisco. i'm also the president of our nonprofit entity, the justice and diversity center formerly known as the volunteer legal services program. i want to thank you for taking public comment on this very important issue. the bar association has been at the forefront of supporting efforts by the city to make legal services available for low-income san franciscans. through our jdc, we provide legal representation to low-income san franciscans with a particular focus on eviction defense, family law, and federal benefits advocacy. our eviction defense services are provided by volunteer
attorneys as well as our staff attorneys. what is happening in san francisco? last year, our staff and volunteers provided services, eviction defense services to more than 1300 households. what do those numbers tell us? two things. the first is that legal services for low-income households facing eviction are desperately needed in the city. but there is one other thing that those statistics don't tell us. how many of those household were provided full-scope representation? full-scope representation only was provided in 25% of those cases. that means that 75% of those folks did not have an attorney who was qualified and available to take their case to trial if necessary. we did what we can and we leverage our volunteers to make the biggest impact that we can, but qualified legal services staff are really necessary to
make a difference in the city. i have with me here aaron katayama who is one of our staff attorneys at the homeless advocacy project which is one of the projects of the san francisco bar association's justice and diversity center. that project and our right to civil counsel project, two projects we provide civil defense services. i'd like you to hear from erin briefly and the work she does for full scope legal services representation for these tenants. >> thank you. >> thank you. i'll be very brief. i am the only staff attorney at the homeless advocacy project whose full-time job it is to provide full scope representation to tenants facing eviction. and i've seen firsthand that tenants without full-scope representation by an experienced attorney are forced to try to litigate eviction cases on their own again high paid and high priced law firms. it is virtually impossible for vulnerable clients like ours,
people who are either elderly, disabled or with small children, people with limited english proficiency to fully litigate a case on their own without an attorney. they come into our office confused about the eviction process and the procedures and until they receive help from an attorney who is experienced, it is virtually impossible for them to receive a fair outcome. the homeless advocacy project is set up to do this kind of full-scope representation as the only eviction attorney, full-time eviction attorney at haps. i know from experience another eviction attorney at our office would be extremely beneficial to meet the need. we do hundreds of cases a year, but we have to turn down hundreds a year. it's frustrating to have to do that. thank you. >> 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