PODER youth leader Alejandra Guzman speaks for Prop C

10 10 2012

Thank you Alejandra for speaking out for affordable housing at the District 11 rally! With friends like these how can we not win???

Hello everyone my name is Alejandra Guzman, and I am a youth member from PODER, which stands for People Organizing to Demand Environmental and Economic Rights. I am here today to talk about the importance of why Prop C, the Housing Trust Fund must pass. San Francisco has always been culturally diverse; there are people of a variety of backgrounds that bring unique qualities to our city. However, San Francisco has become expensive to live in. As a result, this has forced many people to move out of the city because families cannot afford increases in rent. One of the alternatives that people choose to avoid increasing rent is by applying to affordable housing apartments. The problem is that there is not enough affordable housing in the city for everyone to live in. I consider myself very fortunate because my father and I were accepted at an affordable housing apartment building. But it made me wonder, what was going to happen to those hundreds of families who got turned away? The majority of people who could benefit from affordable housing buildings are working class and people of color. They are the ones who have been impacted the most by displacement and gentrification. These San Franciscans are one of the backbones of this city and contribute greatly to its workforce as well as economy. It is unacceptable that we allow for this to happen because it is the city’s duty to protect the rights of those who have invested in it. There is a dire need for affordable housing since everyone, no matter what their income is, has the right to live in San Francisco.

Although our communities are being greatly impacted by displacement and gentrification, people have been coming together and working around these issues. PODER and other community based organizations have been organizing to ensure that the working class can stay in the city by fighting for more affordable housing. A great example of this work is the Balboa Upperyard, which is not so far from here. The Upperyard is vacant city owned land on San Jose and Geneva Avenue that should be dedicated to benefiting our communities. This year Communities United for Health and Justice (CUHJ) a coalition of community based organizations, was able to take back the Balboa Upperyard and is in the process of turning that property into affordable housing! The Upperyard is a great example of the city and community working together to meet our community’s needs.

It is crucial that Proposition C pass so that the working class and people of color can continue to live in San Francisco. Proposition C will ensure that affordable housing projects, like the Balboa Upperyard, that are in the process of being developed, are completed and readily available for families. It will also create the opportunity for new affordable housing proposals to be developed throughout the city. We love our city and the variety of people who make it up and want everyone to be able to live here. Thank you.