In late October, 58-year-old Rodney Randolph will move down the hill from his public housing unit in San Francisco’s once notorious Sunnydale public housing project to a fifth-floor apartment in a new building just completed two blocks away. It’s a five-minute walk from the old spot to the new place. But it feels like a world away. “Instead of facing these old Army barracks, I’m going to be facing the ocean,” said Randolph, an Army veteran who works odd jobs and volunteers for the Sunnydale Food Pantry. “I’ll sit back and look out at the water, the trees, maybe watch some birds flying.” The building Randolph will be moving into is the first replacement housing at Sunnydale, a decaying and isolated 765-unit Visitacion Valley public housing complex, which has traditionally had the city’s highest homicide rate. But it will not be the last. Eventually all the units at Sunnydale, spread over 50 acres at the foot of McLaren Park, will be … [Read more...] about SF’s public housing was crumbling. Is a multibillion-dollar makeover the answer?
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The best way to make sense of the Rockwell, a new 13-story condominium complex at Pine and Franklin streets near Pacific Heights, is to look at it as a marriage of convenience. For the most part, it’s as contemporary as can be, with two squat towers of concrete and glass that hold 262 units. But relics of the past are on view as well. The brick front walls of a commercial garage and small auto showroom were kept intact and then restored, their former garage doors and entryways now filled with crisp, black metal panels and large windows. All of which adds up to San Francisco’s latest and perhaps oddest example of what’s called facadism, where bits of the old city are retained amid large-scale change. And while the fusion here at least has the courage of its convictions, the awkward result should make planners think twice before staging the next shotgun wedding. Gussied-up masonry from 1917 isn’t all that sets apart the Rockwell, on the 1600 block of Pine, from … [Read more...] about Condos’ effort to preserve past well-meaning but awkward
As luxury high-rise condos replace Oakland’s once-affordable housing stock, city officials said Wednesday a first-of-its-kind program that gives financial incentives to landlords renting to low-income families is off to a strong start. In recent years, hundreds of housing units available for impoverished families have disappeared from the market. To recover some of the loss, Oakland officials are touting the new program that gives monetary benefits to property owners to remain or become Section 8 landlords. Perks include a $500 signing bonus and two months of covered rent during a vacancy if the property owner leases again to a Section 8 tenant after the interim. Section 8, run by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, gives housing vouchers to very low-income families, the elderly, the disabled and veterans. In Oakland, the average annual household income of program participants is $19,000. “We want our owners back. We want those owners that left the program … [Read more...] about Affordable housing program in Oakland helps keep Section 8 renters in place
Travis Frederick didn't fully understand the business of football when the Dallas Cowboys drafted their center six years ago and made him an instant starter. Eventually, the four-time Pro Bowler saw what Dallas was trying to build by using first-round picks on offensive linemen three times in four drafts after never having taken a blocker that high in 22 years under owner and general manager Jerry Jones. The Cowboys have become consistent winners behind the line with the NFL's highest salary cap figure. While Dallas isn't the only example of a club benefiting from a heavy investment up front, the New England Patriots are several notches higher than Dallas as an elite team with a more frugal approach. "You'll never see your skill live up to its potential if you're not good on the offensive and defensive lines," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "That's just something I always believed in." After Garrett took over midseason in 2010 with an aging line, the Cowboys' first pick in the next … [Read more...] about Cowboys build model by paying line, Pats win another way
By Guest Commentary | CalMatters By Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Special to CalMatters Originally published on Sunday, November 10 Allan Estrada knows a thing or two about the challenges America's military veterans encounter along their higher education journey. He served in Afghanistan with the Army's 101st Airborne Division, works at a community college Veterans Resource Center, and is studying for his master's degree in clinical counseling at San Diego State University. The list of challenges is long: Bureaucratic delays in processing paperwork needed for tuition and rental assistance provided through the Post 9/11 GI Bill. A 36-month limit on reimbursement for tuition and fees. And a failure to apply toward college credit the extensive training in highly skilled areas that service members receive during their military years. And there are even more barriers keeping veterans from enrolling in college or dropping out before reaching their goal. "It's frustrating," Estrada told me. "When you … [Read more...] about We Must Remove Obstacles That Keep CA Veterans From Earning College Degrees (Opinion)