Thursday, October 15, 2009

Citizens Housing to Close

We just learned that Citizens Housing, the management company responsible for running the Folsom/Dore Apartments featured in Living Green will close and be taken over by the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC). Economic issues forced this closure and while we congratulate the reputatble low-income housing developer, TNDC, for surviving the economic crisis facing the housing industry, this is nonetheless sad news for us.

Above all, we hope that TNDC will work hard to ensure a smooth transition including excellent continuum of care for the residents at this property and the others run by Citizens. We are concerned that the social justice mission of enhancing the lives of residents, not merely sheltering them, that has been at the heart of Citizens' mission, may be at risk.

Citizens Housing has been a model for providing people's right to housing with a strong commitment to residents' health, wellbeing, and overall life success. When we interviewed Nina Berkson and Kevin Edelbrook we were touched by their personal commitment to the staff and residents at Folsom/Dore: These two staff members have worked relentlessly to build a management team from janitors, desk clerks, to office staff who understand they are part of an innovative program designed to enhance the lives of formerly homeless, at-risk of homelessness, and market rate tenants; they are part of the solution to a world that is increasingly apathetic to those in need; segregated by socio-economic status; and aware that environmental concerns must take center stage to reverse local environmental health exposures and global climate change.