An older Filipina with red hair stands outside the Alexander Residence

Rose’s Heart Remains in San Francisco


Dated 12.13.2021

This holiday season, three generations of TNDC tenants—Rose, Yahdaeh, and Maria—share their stories of hope, strength, and perseverance to provide a loving and caring home for themselves, their families, and community. Stay connected with us so you don’t miss out on the next stories!

A singer, dancer, mother, and caregiver, Rose has shared her love, generosity, and positivity across multiple cities including San Francisco. We’re honored to have her as a tenant at the Alexander Residence and share her story.

“I Left My Heart in San Francisco” has been Rose’s favorite song since she first heard the Tony Bennett classic as a young woman in Manila. Little did she know that one day she’d call San Francisco her home, her city by the Bay.

Rose spent much of her life in the Philippines with her family and children until personal circumstances led her to move to California at the age of 51. She joined her father and other family who’d already found a home in Delano, working to provide their fellow Californians with essential food as grape-farmers.

From Manila to Delano to San Leandro to San Mateo, Rose built a stable home for herself many times. She found joy and purpose in caring for others as a certified nursing assistant (CNA). She found new love and remarried while continuing to support her nine children from nearby—several moved to California—and from afar—several remained in the Philippines.

After 20 years of working as a CNA and now at retirement age, Rose found her home in the Tenderloin. Known for its affordability, the Tenderloin presented the opportunity for Rose to live in the city she’d been singing about for all those years, San Francisco.  

Unfortunately, after a few years her building burned down. With limited income, Rose ultimately needed another affordable housing option, which led her to TNDC’s Alexander Residence, where she still lives today.

Rose speaks fondly of her home. She loves the Alexander, the location, and all the additional touches that make her home a supportive community—onsite social work, programming, and social events.

While living at the Alexander for 19 years, Rose has continued to share her generosity and positivity. She cared for her neighbors by volunteering at the building’s produce drops and community events. Her friend, fellow Filipina, and social worker at the Alexander, Betty, calls Rose “one of the great assets of our building and community.”

As someone who loves bringing people together, Rose also co-founded the Tenderloin Filipino-American Community Association (TFCA) in 2010. TFCA, which is also supported by TNDC Community Organizing, has been an essential resource for Filipinos to connect and fight against systemic injustices in housing, citizenship, and more.  

As a mom, Rose puts together care packages for her children who still live in the Philippines and enjoys seeing her kids who live nearby, including her son who is her neighbor! He lives across the street in another TNDC building, Franciscan Towers.

Reflecting on her story, Rose says, “I have a nice life. I’m happy.” Her happiness is clear as she can’t wait for her next opportunity to dance the pandanggo, a Filipino folk dance and sing “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” for everyone to hear.

As we tell stories like Rose’s, we must remember that affordable housing makes it possible for people with limited incomes to have the stability they deserve. If we don’t build affordable housing, these are the people and stories we leave behind.  By supporting TNDC’s mission you make the foundation for their self-determined success possible. Stand with us and invest in a future where every generation has a home.

Photo Credit: Felix Uribe Jr.

An older Filipina with red hair stands outside the Alexander Residence
An older Filipina with red hair sits near a plant with light streaming on her face
•An older Filipina with red hair stands in the lobby with her social worker