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My letter to Cadence Real Estate, urging them to accept the demands of the tenants of the Chateau Apartments

Tuesday July 2, 2019 

To Cadence Real Estate, Chris Garvin, Barret Johnston, John Garvin: 

I am writing to again urge you to transfer the building-based section 8 subsidies to  another building in the Central District, to allow your tenants to remain in their  communities when you demolish their homes.  

My office has done outreach and found a not-for-profit affordable housing provider in  the neighborhood willing to receive custody of that subsidy, and keep these tenants in  housing. I am outraged to learn that you are demanding $100,000 from the Low  Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to transfer the vouchers, essentially demanding a  ransom for the homes of these low-income working-class families. It is unacceptable  that you, as a corporation with $185 million in assets, would demand money from  non-profits attempting to address the housing crisis with already limited funds, under  the threat of displacing these low-income residents. 

My Council Office has been working closely with the tenants of the Chateau  Apartments to ensure that they continue to live in their neighborhood which they have  been a part of for decades. Many of these tenants are working-class seniors,  immigrants, families with young children, people with disabilities, and people of color  who rely on the support networks they have built – on the healthcare nearby, on their  community in the Central District, and on the immigrant network in the international  district. We firmly believe that the working people who make this city run – like the  nurse, postal worker, care givers, sanitation engineer who live at the Chateau  Apartments – should be able to retire in the city that they work in, and age with dignity.

You have been made well aware of the need for these tenants to remain in their  neighborhood, as they informed you at the March 14th meeting, and as has been  reported in the press. LIHI has informed you of an available building for this project just  blocks from the Chateau site, and of their willingness to take on this project. We are  aware that the tenants will receive choice vouchers either way, allowing them to apply for any housing that fits the payment standard of the vouchers, However, in the context  of this acute affordable housing crisis, it has been difficult for voucher holders to find  landlords willing to accept those vouchers in their neighborhood. You are effectively  threatening not just to displace these tenants from their homes, but now from their city  altogether.

We urge you to transfer the section 8 project-based subsidy to LIHI to keep affordable  housing and these tenants in the neighborhood without demanding this $100,000  ransom.

We urge you to transfer the section 8 project-based subsidy to LIHI to keep affordable  housing and these tenants in the neighborhood without demanding this $100,000  ransom.

Thank you.

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Councilmember Kshama Sawant

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