A Note on Clementina Towers
Dear Friends of TNDC,
Last night NBC Bay Area aired a story investigating the challenges of managing public housing in San Francisco. To show the struggles residents often face when living in a building undergoing renovation, NBC featured a resident at one of our buildings, Clementina Towers. We care deeply about how our residents are affected by the difficult process of relocation and renovation, and our staff try to ease the burden as much as possible. Above all, our staff is committed to residents living in dignified homes, as shown by the same story’s before-and-after images of the Clementina Towers and the same resident’s clear appreciation for her new home. You can read another story of how residents have responded to our renovation efforts in an article by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The San Francisco Housing Authority managed Clementina Towers until we acquired the 276-unit property in October 2016. Public housing in the U.S., such as Clementina Towers, has a long history of underfunding leading to severe maintenance problems. To improve the current living conditions, the City and County of San Francisco organized $1.7 billion in financing to renovate the public housing stock. TNDC was tasked with resolving significant issues on five of these properties—over 700 homes—while current residents remained in place. As the story showed, our work dramatically improved these properties with additions such as new windows, flooring, and roofs; improved safety features and disability access; and upgrades to the elevators and wheelchair lifts. To make these improvements, however, meant residents had the burden of both taking on brand new building management and living in a home undergoing construction—no easy feat.
NBC highlighted the Clementina Tower resident’s concern over a preexisting leak in her unit that we struggled to diagnose and a claim that hired movers damaged her furniture, which we have since replaced. We regret that she experienced the leak for four months while we looked into the problem’s source, but we are also confident our staff did everything to resolve the issue at the time and ensure the resident’s safety.
NBC also called out the 74 building violations we have had since 2010. While the count is accurate, NBC’s lack of context is misleading. For perspective, the violations range from issues as minor as a broken refrigerator light to the leak mentioned in NBC’s story. Our maintenance staff addresses 19,000 work orders a year, and work orders concerning resident safety, such as the leak, are always the highest priority. For us, 74 building violations over 7 years, or 1 violation for every 427 units per year, is a success. This low number is a testament to our staff’s responsiveness and dedication to providing high quality housing. We will continue to learn from our work and always aim for improvement where possible.
The last 36 years have shown us that renovating properties like Clementina Towers is a massive undertaking for all involved, but well worth the effort. Once Clementina Towers is complete, over 300 residents will live in a dignified home. Many more are waiting.
Please reach out to me at 415-358-3923 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you may have about the story.
Donald S. Falk
Chief Executive Officer
Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation