SAN FRANCISCO — Chants echoed throughout downtown San Francisco, in front of the building where landlord Michael Cheung works.
Last year, Cheung issued eviction notices to four Filipino families.
Since then — with the support of the community — they have been fighting against it.
“It’s been stressful of course, but we’ve learned to deal with it, because we’re dealing with it together,” says Diane Yuma.
San Francisco’s Ellis Act allows the city’s landlords to sell their property with the existing tenants living in it — making the evictions lawful.
According to the families, Cheung, who is the founder and managing principal of Caerus Investment Advisors, offered cash buy-outs.
However, the families say that due to the housing crisis in San Francisco — the buy-out is not enough to help these low-income families find a new place to live.
“We want these families to stay in their units. They’re multi-generational. There’s a 92-year-old senior, an 85-year-old senior, a 4-year-old, somebody with disability. And they’ve been rooted in this community,” said Ray Castillo.
All four families also come from the same province in Pampanga.
“All of them came from the same province. They all celebrate holidays together: Christmas, everything. They were a very tight-knit community. That’s why we started calling their house “little masantol.”
These families say fighting the evictions is their only option.
“All yearm we’ve been trying to find a different place to live but here in San Francisco with the rent so high and a lot of competition for housing, it’s been really hard. So right now we don’t have a back up plan.”
BA has reached out to Cheung for a comment.
There has been no response at this time.