Pinoy-led anti-violence youth center survives rising SF real estate

SAN FRANCISCO – After 20 years of serving the San Francisco community the team behind the anti-violence program United Playaz can finally call their building home.

The two-story clubhouse that draws hundreds of at-risk children from a nearby elementary school and residential hotels in the South of Market neighborhood was acquired for $1.4 million.

United Playaz Executive Director and Filipino American Rudy Corpuz Jr., who was in and out of prison before turning his life around 20 years ago, says that the ownership of the building means that more lives can be saved and one name in particular can live on forever.

“It’s a great feeling to know that in a neighborhood that I grew up in to be able to have something for the community and the people and also to have it named after a Filipino who provided resources and saved lives – Eric Fructuoso,” said Corpuz. “So a Filipino like me, naming a building after a Filipino that has historical roots here for over 100 years in San Francisco – we’re here to stay!”

United Playaz received $400,000 from the SoMa Stabilization Fund and also raised another $800,000 from other private groups.

With the increasing evictions of residents and non-profit organizations Corpuz says his doors were kept open because of the support of city officials, the tech industry, and real estate developers.

“They saw what we do and they learned what we do and they genuinely wanted to help out. And so from there they invested,” said Corpuz.

Regarding the civil unrest in Baltimore, Corpuz hopes that his message of non-violence and community partnerships can be applied to help the situation.

“What’s happening out there is tragic and I don’t see it as a riot,” said Corpuz. “It’s a rebellion. It takes the hood to save the hood, that’s our motto.”

Corpuz says that he plans to add another level and a rooftop to the building based on the input from the families he and his staff serves.

Follow Rommel Conclara on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.

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