SF Pinoy families fighting evictions get community support

SAN FRANCISCO – Filipino families and community advocates in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco are fighting evictions from their home of 15 years.

Rosendo Anicete has had growing fear that he and his family would eventually face eviction.

“We are getting this pressure and stress because as soon as we see these people getting out of these buildings then what if those people getting out will happen to us also so that’s a big problem for us,” said Anicete.

Their building was purchased last march by Big Tree Properties Incorporated.

After learning that the tenants were uninterested in the buyout offers, Big Tree filed lawsuits against them for poor housekeeping, alterations to the property, and other technicalities.

Big Tree says there are some safety concerns such as alterations to the basement, and some units where there’s overcapacity of tenants.

Various community organizations are now fighting for the tenants who are predominantly immigrant Filipinos.

“How can they do that when these irresponsible speculators that care nothing about anything except the money do this to our communities,” said Tony Robles, a community leader.

“It’s not just about being rooted out of your home: the stress that people are going through, the sleepless nights because they don’t know where they are going to be living tomorrow,” said Angelica Cabande of the South of Market Community Action Network.

Advocates say other Filipinos are going through evictions in San Francisco.

“Talk to community organizations because we can help. But if you don’t fight, then you don’t have an option but to leave. But if you fight, you have an option of at least staying and keeping your home,” said Vivian Zalvidea Araullo, the executive director of the West Bay Pilipino Center.

These families say they have nowhere to live because of the high cost of living in San Francisco.

“I’m a veteran,” said Anicete. “I’m just making less than a thousand. What can I do? Where will I get the rest of the utilities, the food, and all that? So they want us to live on the street? Come on now!”

Currently, the tenants are in meditations with Big Tree to see if they can revoke the evictions.

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