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Wave of Evictions in San Francisco Displaces Gay Men Living With AIDS

| October 4, 2013
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Tim Oviatt was forced to live in his car for more than eight months.  (Myleen Hollero/KQED)

Tim Oviatt was forced to live in his car for more than eight months. (Myleen Hollero/KQED)

For 28 years, Peter Greene lived in a rent-controlled Victorian flat above a travel agency he co-founded in San Francisco’s Castro District. Originally from New York City, he hitchhiked here in the mid-’70s from Colorado, where he went to school.

“I couldn’t believe when I walked down Castro Street there was just freedom,” Greene recalled. “I just never felt like I could be harmed again in any way. It was a sanctuary.”

But in the 1980s the AIDS crisis hit “and the Castro became a sad place for many years.” Greene helped run Now, Voyager, the gay and lesbian travel service, for a decade until he found out he had AIDS.

 The thing with these buyouts is where to do you go? You’re just essentially being told to get out of town.

Most of his life since then, he said, has been spent fighting illness. One thing he didn’t have to worry about, until recently, was his apartment.

“I’ve been under rent control, which has made so much possible for me to live in the city and I just never really considered what it would be like without this apartment,” said Greene.

Last December, the owner decided to sell and the new owner opted to move in. After months of what Greene calls “lawyering,” he agreed to a buyout and left.

“The thing with these buyouts is where to do you go? People say well, you got ‘blah, blah, blah amount of dollars,’ but it doesn’t create a new life here in San Francisco. You’re just essentially just being told to get out of town, and here’s a few bucks to try and figure it out.”

Peter Greene was evicted from his home in the Castro. (Bryan Goebel/KQED)

Peter Greene was forced to leave his home above the travel shop earlier this year. (Bryan Goebel/KQED)

No place like San Francisco for those with AIDS

Greene said for people living with HIV and AIDS, leaving San Francisco is a daunting prospect, because it has been at the forefront of research and care. Greene has participated in more than 20 clinical trials. He has been rooted in his beloved Castro neighborhood, even though it’s changing.

“You’re scared because you feel like you’ve been kept alive by this thing that you’ve set in place that has taken many, many years,” said Greene. “By destroying one life, by displacing one person, you displace so much of the good that they’ve done, the people they’re connected to.”

Things have been especially hard since April when Jonathan Klein, the longtime owner of Now, Voyager, committed suicide six months after he took a buyout and was forced to leave his apartment. Klein had been staying with Greene, and when the building’s owner decided to sell, Klein’s travel shop was in limbo.

“When we were told to leave, it was another blow. It was just a trifecta when one day he got up and went out to the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped,” said Greene. “I’ve lived through the AIDS crisis and lost a lot of friends, but there’s something about suicide. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.”

Greene, who’s almost 60, said he’s been lucky because he’s been able to couch-surf with friends. He plans to move to Palm Springs to help care for a friend with cancer. “I still have the opportunity to make something of myself. It just gets harder as you get older and wake up with more of this and that.”

 By destroying one life, by displacing one person, you displace so much of the good that they’ve done, the people they’re connected to.

LGBT seniors at risk

Housing and tenant rights advocates say evictions are happening all over the city at an alarming rate, and driving some LGBT people into homelessness. The city’s most recent homeless count found that 29 percent are LGBT, and 9.2 percent said they were homeless because of an eviction.

“We are at a 12-year high for evictions in San Francisco, fueled by real estate speculation,” said Brian Basinger, the executive director of the AIDS Housing Alliance.

A recent report by the city’s budget analyst found that the highest rates of no-fault evictions in the city were in the Castro and Bernal Heights.

“These are the historically gay male and lesbian women communities,” he said. “We are the most disproportionate community targeted for displacement.”

Basinger said disabled LGBT seniors are among the most vulnerable. A recent report by the city’s LGBT Aging Policy Task Force found that 40 percent of LGBT seniors surveyed did not have the minimum income to meet their basic needs. Fifteen percent have contemplated suicide in the past year.

A tribute to Jonathan Klein, the late owner of Now Voyager. It opened as the first gay travel agency in the Castro in 1984.  (Bryan Goebel/KQED)

A tribute to Jonathan Klein, the late owner of Now Voyager. It opened as the first gay travel agency in the Castro in 1984. (Bryan Goebel/KQED)

All-American boy

Tim Oviatt, 64, had a tough time getting into low-income housing after he was kicked out of his apartment. He has a job at a local retail store. When I interviewed him, he took me to the store’s parking lot, where he was living in his Chrysler convertible.

“I have blankets and pillows in the trunk and just put the seat down as low as it’ll go and just cocoon up in there. It doesn’t make for a great night’s sleep.”

For 26 years, Oviatt, who moved to San Francisco in the 1970s from Detroit, owned a boutique store in the heart of the Castro known as All American Boy.  When the recession hit, a string of calamitous events began. He lost his shop, made some bad business decisions, couldn’t pay his mortgage and his partner died from AIDS.

  I’m pretty strong, but this takes the hell out of you and it’s expensive, believe it or not, living on the street because you have no place to cook.

Oviatt, also living with AIDS, said his feet swell up when he sleeps in the car, and it’s been broken into.

“It truly has worn me down. I mean, I’m pretty strong, but this takes the hell out of you and it’s expensive, believe it or not, living on the street, because you have no place to cook.”

Oviatt said his co-workers were supportive for the eight months he was forced to live in his car. Since our interview in July, he’s found housing, thanks to the AIDS Housing Alliance, which in recent years has helped more than 1,000 LGBT people avoid becoming homeless.

“We just don’t have a good safety net in this society,” said Oviatt. “I don’t know what the solution is but there has to be a better way then there is now.”

More elected officials are paying attention to the problem, according to Basinger, and he’s urging the city to direct more money into preventing and getting LGBT people out of homelessness. 

Bevan Dufty, the former Castro District supervisor who is Mayor Ed Lee’s point person on homelessness, said he was alarmed to find out that 29 percent of homeless are LGBT, and he would like to see the number reduced by 50 percent within three or four years.

“We’re in discussions with some of the key city departments such as the Human Services Agency and our public health department to really look at strategies we can collaborate on that really focus in on LGBT homelessness,” he said.

 We’ve been going out to a lot of different locations recognizing that LGBT homeless individuals are in our shelter system, they are sleeping in Golden Gate Park, they are on Castro Street.

Those strategies would include addressing “the insecurity and the lack of housing stability that people can feel in this very changing and heated rental market in San Francisco.”

LGBTQ Connect 

One way city officials and housing and tenant advocates are collaborating to address LGBT homelessness is bringing together organizations that serve the LGBT community with organizations that have typically served the general homeless population.

Next week, the LGBT Community Center will host a first-of-its-kind event for those LGBT people who are homeless or at risk. Called LGBTQ Connect, it’s modeled after Project Homeless Connect. Dufty said that program has helped more than 2,000 homeless individuals get access to services, such as dental care, over the past 10 years.

“We’ve been going out to a lot of different locations recognizing that LGBT homeless individuals are in our shelter system, they are sleeping in Golden Gate Park, they are on Castro Street, and we’re reaching far and wide to bring people in,” said Dufty.

The event will take place Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center.

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About the Author ()

Bryan Goebel is a reporter focused on transportation and housing issues. He was previously the editor of Streetsblog San Francisco and a producer and anchor at KCBS radio. He's a lifelong Californian and over his 20-year radio career has worked at stations in Barstow, Redding and Sacramento. Reach Bryan Goebel at bgoebel@KQED.org.
  • RMNC

    Supervisor Wiener? Hello? Hello?

    • Woody

      He is to busy waging war on double parking and arresting naked people.

  • GBannis

    This article makes some excellent points but … the problems are not confined to gay men living with HIV. They are problems of poverty and inadequate planning.

    Basinger should not use phrasing such as “We are the most disproportionate community targeted for displacement.” No one is targeting the gay community. But there are people who want to buy homes in Bernal Heights and the Castro because they have always been popular neighborhoods and because they want to start the journey that people like Oviatt and Greene started back in the day.

    • Mike

      They don’t want to “start a journey”. They want to make a bunch of money flipping homes.

      Real estate speculation is not the same as participating in the life of a city. In fact, it seems to be participating in the death of one.

      • Kevin Smith

        If one more idiot say’s rent controlled tenants have some kind of special magic they bring to the city, that any other people who will later live in the space, will simply will not have. I’m gonna puke. It’s like some weird kind of reverse segregation. WE ARE BETTER THAN YOU, and there by the rules that apply to you, DO NOT APPLY to us.

        • Mr. Asad

          The issue is not blaming buyers for having myriad reasons for getting their tenents out of their buildings. The real issue is that rents are severely disproportionate to incomes. There used to always be someplace to go. Now there is not any where that is affordable. A secondary issue (and I have been reading ALL of your comments) is the self righteous and judgmental attitude toward these citizens and longtime renters and lack of compassion for there differing circumstances. You are a prime example of this self righteous and judgmental attitude and absence of compassion. I sort of am hoping the universe bites you in the ass!

          • Mr. Asad

            Also I would like to add I am a renter in a rent controlled building that is currently for sale. The previous landlord has allowed his tenants to really create a home for themselves. The building has what I have funny enough thought of as a magical community feeling. Everyone looks outs for each other and many of the colorful tenants are seniors and elderly who have lived here for decades. None of them to my knowledge are LGBT. However many are single and alone and on fixed incomes. If they were made to leave, there would absolutely be NO where to go.
            Now there is nothing wrong for offering up advice as to planning for the future as you have done. Your decisions were clearly wise, and do count your blessings. What is seriously troubling is the accompanying smug judgmental attitude and lack of compassion for others.

          • Kevin Smith

            It was the previous onwers right to run the property as they wanted, good for you, Now it’s the new owners right to do as they want with their property.

          • Kevin Smith

            ” I sort of am hoping the universe bites you in the ass!” There it is, the truth about your “compassion”. You have none , you are quite ready to wish bad things to happen to some who’s “crime” is to be self empowering and stand up the the theft of peoples valuable property using the tool of rent control. Which by they way, is totally legal under the Ellis act. Squatting in someones property after an Ellis act has been executed is THEFT, pure and simple. Maybe you feel compassion for all the armed robbers in Oakland who are just holding up people to buy pampers also ?

          • Mr. Asad

            Dude. I said ” I sort of am hoping the universe bites you in the ass!” and used “sort of” because I do not really wish you harm. It is just noting the way the universe so often works its karmic ironies on those as vociferous as yourself. If you did get knocked down a peg, it would seem in my estimation, not be to your harm but to the benefit of possibly improving the development of your character. You must realize that I do not have beef with recent property buyers who could have a myriad different circumstances and reasons for getting rid of their tenants.

          • Kevin Smith

            ” not be to your harm but to the benefit of possibly improving the development of your character” I could make the same statement for people finding another place to live in, that they can actually afford, and honestly it would be more accurate.

          • Kevin Smith

            And this “no where to go” lie is just that. There is a whole planet to go to. Much of it far cheaper than San Francisco

          • Kevin Smith

            If rents were really severely disproportionate to incomes, then rents would fall FAST. So many financial illeterates here!

          • Mr. Asad

            Hmmm. Just anecdotally I can attest that low income renters are more quickly than ever being replaced by a slew of new arrivals. This large pool of new arrivers seem to have high incomes and a willingness to pay whatever. Many of these new arrivals I have also found to be young (I’m in my forties) and ivy league educated. Landlords are striving to get these people. There is no dearth of them to fill the void of displaced former renters. Certainly I can empathize with new property buyers who have just paid market rates for their investments and may need to have their mortgage, operating costs, etc.. pay off in rents. However, I FEEL there needs to be some kind of balance. With the attitude you have adopted here you may say to me it is your fault you chose to be a substitute teacher (my pay has been the same for the past six years and I work other jobs to help make things work and even still it is pay check to pay check) and not an anesthesiologist. If I lost my rent controlled apartment I would not be able to find housing here. I could not be part of this community. If I can’t afford to live here then move somewhere else you say. Certainly economics and geography are woven together. Yet, conversely who would do the kinds of jobs that are undervalued such as mine? Apparently people who have a partner or spouse that make bigger incomes, or people with a trust fund or have inherited a property or what? I have met everyone of these people in these kinds of blessed situations. Perhaps a “superior” someone; stronger or smarter, who knows how to turn straw to gold like you? I wish you could see and it would register, the fear in the eyes of the old people who have paid their dues, live in my building and have fixed incomes.

          • Kevin Smith

            There are 7 billion people on the planet, at any given time plenty will have fear in their eyes. If you want to blame someone, BLAME GOD…..

      • Kevin Smith

        What a truly ridiculous statement, real estate speculation breaths life into a city. When there is zero speculation is when a city dies, Detroit is proof of that! You can buy houses for $500.00 there….Hell for a lousy $21,000 you can buy the 40 acre historic Packard plant and create your own rent controlled loft utopia.

    • Dennis Conkin

      apologist for scum

      • Kevin Smith

        “Scum” is what you call people who won’t let strangers steal their property? Well the Ellis act is the cure for rent control theft!. I could call the feral humans roaming around the city “scum” but even thought I think they deserve the title, I will not be that pejorative. I know you think you are a good person, but your words prove you are a hater.

    • Marc

      “Inadequate planning”? How do you know? Smug alert.

      • Kevin Smith

        uh… the results speak for themselves?

      • Kevin Smith

        ” I just never really considered what it would be like without this (rent controlled) apartment,” said Greene…..How is that for PROOF of inadequate planning?

    • http://www.themarkofkane.blogspot.com/ Mark Kane

      Point of fact:

      The Castro has not “always been a popular neighborhood”, and these are the very men who contributed to what havs made it what it is today. And yes, in a predominantly gay neighborhood, people are targeting the gay community.

      • Kevin Smith

        So let me get this “straight” (so to speak), while it was okay for people 40 years ago to remake the Castro, now it is forbidden for anyone else to remake it? Discrimination maybe?

        • http://www.themarkofkane.blogspot.com/ Mark Kane

          I have no desire to get into a flame war with you, Kevin. It’s clear that you have absolutely no compassion for anyone other than yourself. When you use a term like Rent Control Theft, everybody knows exactly where you’re coming from. You’ve got yours; to hell with everybody else. You spent a lot of time on this site talking about how wonderful your life is and how everybody else deserves their fate for not following your sterling example. I hope you enjoy it and I also hope I never have the misfortune of meeting you.

          • Kevin Smith

            Gee, finding an apartment you can afford and not steal it under the guise of rent control is not the HUGE FREAKING misfortune you make it out to be! HYPERBOLE! And really, did I hold you up at gun point or rape your son? Who are the real haters here? I am not the problem, in fact I am the solution, if you were not so deeply entrenched in your victim culture!

          • http://www.themarkofkane.blogspot.com/ Mark Kane

            Wow. Rape? Gunpoint? You are a piece of work.

            Have a good day, Kevin.

          • Kevin Smith

            Hey, I’m not the one who hurling pejoratives at landlords who only want to control their own legally owned property, as if they were on the same level as rapists and armed robbers. Really SCUM? You rent control shills are ridiculous.

          • Kevin Smith

            About meeting me, not a problem I’m totally busy with 20 something year old’s anyway. The one’s I meet are not interested in any faux compassionates. They want rough, aggressive and take charge. So yeah, my personality is not hurting my social life, sorry to disappoint you.

        • Lance Desker

          Yes it is possible to remake the Castro district, and I suspect you are one of the many greedy housing developers who are happy to throw older LGBT Castro citizens to the curb. However, compared to the poorer working class neighbourhood before the 1960s LGBT revolution, the Castro is much more colourful, alive and vibrant, much due to the community. If it becomes another mall land, we would have lost a unique sector of the city, with a character not to be found in many other places.

          • Kevin Smith

            Greed is wanting somebody else’s property for next to nothing.

    • Lance Desker

      Bull**** that no one is targeting the gay community. The Castro may have not been the centre of LGBT activity since time immemorial but it has for the past 40 years. New buyers should remember that fact, but they want to make a quick buck, and quite frankly, if they aren’t gay, they re more than happy to buy out and outright displace LGBT people.

  • nacinla

    Sad article. I remember arguing with my partner in 1983 about whether we could afford this fabulous apartment at the top of a Queen Anne in the Mission/NoeValley. It was $650 a month. We were struggling to make it on meager salaries but we took it and had a great time there. When I think about it, few if any of my SF friends, with the jobs they had, could afford to live in SF now (if they were alive). And that’s what concerns me about the city: What happens to the character of a place when the only people who can afford to live there are One Percenters? So glad I had my time there, when I did.

    • Kevin Smith

      I bought a small (then, now its big 1166 sq ft) condo in 1981 for 85K, my payments were 600 something a month. Now the condo is paid for and worth $1,000.000. I own it and can stay as long as I want. I can even get a reverse mortgage and it will pay me money every month. See it’s called planning….

      • tucsontony

        Kevin, Be very, very careful about getting involved with a reverse mortgage. Some may be ok, but many do not really help the homeowner. Suggest you seek out a financial planner or have a mortgage broker direct you to someone who knows about the facts of reverse mortgages.
        Tony

        • Kevin Smith

          Thanks for the warning… I always do the due diligence and still have a couple of years till turning 62…

      • whatevs

        That’s a whole lot of smug there. Most people do not have a downpayment, nor a way to get one.

        • Kevin Smith

          Smug is thinking the rent controled apartment you currently occupy (that someone else owns) belongs to you for life….

          • http://www.themarkofkane.blogspot.com/ Mark Kane

            Smug is what you are, Kevin.

            I don’t see anything in this article about not smoking, not tanning and being monogamous. Yet you’ve held yourself above everyone but mention how you bucked the trends.

            Not everyone had the money for a $85,000.00 condo. While cheap by today’s standards, that was a chunk of change back in 1981.

            I’m glad you took the time to plan. How about a little compassion for people at a difficult crossroads?

          • Kevin Smith

            How about compassion for people who work and sweated to buy property and then some stranger thinks it now belongs to them for life, and you can just go piss off?

          • Kevin Smith

            Wait, one other thing i forgot about. I have a friend who has a great rent controlled apt. for 25 years. He likes to drink and party and some times comes up short for the rent. I often loan him the money, so he will not lose that apt. for cause (he always pays me back). I would not be able to help him out if I was not a person who planned and saved. So go on and on about my alleged lack of compassion, but compassion will not pay his rent when he is short!

  • Babz G-Sievers

    its not nice to be asked to leave what u know, but It might just open wonderful doors to u.. and I might make u even happier. lets face it the castro isn’t they way it was back then.. however it is more about gay men than all gays.. which isn’t a bad thing.. the shops had changed there focus.. owners were different……. its a great place, I wish you great happiness when u find that new place ………..!

  • Babz G-Sievers

    life doesn’t create itself u create it…….. u can do this…… hell its a piece of cake cant wait to see what u do and where u go.. ur life is u… write me and send pics…

  • Lance Desker

    I know it’s not as easy as ala-kazam, and the housing problem is solved, but who knew that in the 1980s, with people dying young, that the problem of LGBT seniors, many of whom are crushed by the cost of meds, would come to a crisis point. It is high time that San Francisco built a low-income LGBT housing centre like Triangle Square in L A, where a second batch of low-income units has already started being built. What I do not understand is why one of the most gay-friendly cities in North America is struggling to house HIV+ seniors. Like I said, it’s not like one can wave a magic wand and the problem is solved but many business groups and building centres such as Home Depot could donate supplies. But there has to be a concerted effort by all people in the community.

  • Justin

    There are plenty of options if living in the Castro isn’t affordable. The owner has the right to trade non profitable rent controlled housing for a better option. Overall it will lead to a new robust community in all neighborhoods.

    • Lance Desker

      yes, but why throw seniors out on their asses ? That does not result in any good PR, which is an important part of business.

      • Kevin Smith

        It’s only bad PR for the rent control shills, that pretty much exist ONLY where there is rent control, as it is to their greedy benefit. And no one is thrown out on their asses! More HYPERBOLE. They give them lots of money for RELOCATION. In some places they can buy a house for CASH the forced benefits are so large!

  • Kevin Smith

    Is this the message older men want to give to the next generation? Don’t prepare for the future and then whine like a baby and become a parasite when things turn out badly for you? Hey younger gay guys, the only thing you can learn from these elders, is to NOT do as they did!

    • Brian

      Dude, you’re way outta line…shit happens…life cannot be perfectly predicted, put yourself in their shoes, because it could be you one day, and don’t say it couldn’t you don’t know that! Many very successful people have fallen into homelessness…one bad decision and that’s it…think before your vapid cold heart speaks!!!

      • Kevin Smith

        Really…? NOT plannig will absolutely make you a begging, parasite. So not planning is by default, planning to become a parisitic loser. Like Mr Greene said “I just never really considered what it would be like without this (rent controled) apartment,” . Hell I plaaned & yes something could go wrong ( but not yet) but I least I gave it some effort to stand up on my own and be a MAN , NOT A Begger..

        • Mr. Asad

          Now there is nothing wrong for offering up advice as to planning for the future as you have done. Your decisions were clearly wise, and do count your blessings. What is seriously troubling is the accompanying smug, self-righteous, judgmental attitude toward these citizens and longtime renters lack of compassion for their differing circumstances.

          • Kevin Smith

            So you have so much compassion that you will move out of your apartment and let some one less fortunate move in. Right?

        • Daayiee Abdullah

          “What is seriously troubling is the accompanying smug, self-righteous, judgmental attitude toward these citizens and longtime renters lack of compassion for their differing circumstances.” Mr. Asad said it all. KS, or should I refer to you as Mr. Scrooge–a cold heart combined with a mind that believes it can do no wrong–I doubt you’ll have three vistors to help you change. What will happen is one day when they least expect it something significant will bring you down several notches…yes, this will be when you will hope you’re not underwater and have no way out…enjoy the trip, stumble, fall and fail. Karma is one heck of a equalizer.

          • Kevin Smith

            Fake compassion is so unseemly….

          • Kevin Smith

            Oh about that Karma thing…. Ever heard of the Delta 32 mutation ? People that have it are virtually immune to HIV, pretty good Karma I woiuld say…..

          • Daayiee Abdullah

            Kevin, I lived in San Francissy as a business owner for 5 years before leaving for a more welcoming atmosphere on the East coast…and to get away from egotist like you. Furthermore, my father owned lots of property and his attitude was to make sure people had shelter, particularly when they were ill or incapacitated. So if you don’t like the comparison to Scrooge…I can imagine why. Please remember the value of people will always be more important than the value of your property.

          • Kevin Smith

            Imprisonment of America’s 2.3 million prisoners, costing $24,000 per inmate per year, and $5.1 billion in new prison construction, consumes $60.3 billion in budget expenditures. Yes, even criminals have value as you can see……

          • Lance Desker

            People may fault Muslims for many things but this humanitarian attitude towards other people, and not living for the buck is a hallmark of Islam. Profit does not come at the expense of other human beings. That is the problem with American style supply-sider bull.

          • Kevin Smith

            That’s because they are living for the cult….

          • Kevin Smith

            Apparently you have not seen how lavishly they live and spend in the cradle of Mecca, called Saudi Arabia? it would make a Rothschild blush…..

          • Daayiee Abdullah

            Lance, KS has to make himself feel better…just look at the number of responses he is driven to make…if he didn’t care he would not need to respond…it is to cover up his hard heart when others have only asked he be more compassinate and it is ignored. I turn the page and move on.

          • Kevin Smith

            Sure, but you had to comment and disparage one last time, what a saint you are…. and you have plenty of comments yourself. Mr San FranCISSY. I bet you belong to a cult that tells you can do no wrong if you believe in some BS… so no matter what kind of hell you unleash in the world, you are deluded into thinking you are a good person.

          • Kevin Smith

            This is what a Muslim invited to speak at some Muslim conference in London says “They have given them [homosexuals] unprecedented rights, so that your child can be exposed and introduced to lesbians. Now they say “if you discriminate against that, you’re going to jail”. We’ll discriminate, but we’ll discriminate in a way where we don’t get in trouble. The Muslim is a dentist, one of those people come, you want to take a big, big needle and stick it in his gums”. Yes, such HUMANITARIANS !!! Has your landlord stuck a big, big needle in your gums lately? Is that why you loathe him or her so much?

          • Kevin Smith

            How valuable are people when you are stoning them to death?
            (I just want to get a feel for the going rate).

  • Kevin Smith

    How do the 7 Billion people people on the planet who DO NOT live in San Francisco manage? It seems that the consensus here is, that life not lived in San Francisco, is not worth living at all.

    • Lance Desker

      Yes I’ve often wondered why owning a house was not considered one of the ways to anchor the LGBT presence in the Castro area. But, there wasn’t a need to own a space for people to recognise one’s importance. Not everyone went to college in the 1970s, and there wasn’t a need for it, so there was no rush to buy a home with the money one earns from a college-education type job. However, the city has also been shirking its responsibility to its seniors. Depending on the market is one thing, but why isn’t there a move to build homes for older LGBT people? There are HLM (habitations à loyer modique) apartments for low rent for seniors near and in the gay village in Montréal. Many LGBT seniors manage to have independent lives for not very much cost. There is a role for government involvement and the city government has been lax in responding to this critical shortage.

      • Kevin Smith

        When I was 6 years old a Great Aunt was telling my parents about how she bought the house we were visiting her in for $5,000.00 and now it was worth $15,000.00. I knew right THEN AND THERE I should buy property…..

        • Paul

          Yep, we all started at the same point. Some of us worked hard, saved hard, took risks, bought a home and now have financial security.

          Others didn’t and I am supposed to feel sorry for them, er why exactly? Some of these people should never have been in SF in the first place if they cannot afford it.

  • Kerry

    Contact a fair housing council…. I used to work for the one in Fresno, HIV/AIDS is a protected class in California..

  • TruthSerum

    I moved to Castro May or 2012 from Boston. Within a year I have seen so many long term residents moving away from Castro which is the historic gay neighborhood. I dont think I can afford to buy a 1 million plus property and pay the mortgage, taxes and eat. I moved here for the experience of living in a historic gay neighborhood and it is slipping away. More and more it looks like otherwise

  • Gigalo Cool

    Just move to Wilton Manors in Ft. Lauderdale – it’s more gay than either San Francisco or Manhattan, warmer, beautiful, affordable, and safe.

    • Kevin Smith

      See! Proof that living outside the San Francisco city limits is NOT a death sentence.

      • Bill

        A friend just bought a nice apartment in Phoenix, near the light rail, gay bars, restaurants, with a view and a pool. Total price was $35,000 & HOAs are $150/mo. No! No! No! I must hold onto my rent-controlled dump in the Castro! There’s no other place I can live!

  • bill

    I moved to Phoenix after living in the City for 40 years. A got into an argument in a gay bar recently with a guy who came to town looking to buy rental property. He lived in a rent-controlled apartment in SF, had lots of money, so was looking for a place to invest. I asked if he thought it fair that he pay 1/5 of the going rate for his apartment and it seemed he honestly believed that his rent-controlled rate was a lifetime privilege. In a nutshell, that’s the problem in the City.

    • Kevin Smith

      Yeah, How greedy can they get? The give me something for nothing gravy train!

      • Bill

        If “means testing” were added to SF Rent Control, there would instantly be housing available. In NYC, if you earn over $200,000, you aren’t eligible for landlord-subsidized rent control. Why not in SF?

  • Gigalo Cool

    It sucks when you go from being a Star Bellied Sneech who gets to pay less in rent to all of a sudden becoming a Plain Bellied Sneech that has to pay the full amount like everyone else… Boo Hoo… Snap!

  • Kevin Smith

    Tenants can be so greedy. On a notice posted for tenants of the Market St building, where they are being evicted, it clearly says “THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE YOU CAN GET MORE MONEY” (by using Sup. Jane Kim to threaten their landlord) Isn’t extortion illegal?

  • Kevin Smith

    Living in San Francisco is a luxury, not a necessity!

  • Kevin Smith

    Official Dogma of the San Francisco Rent Control Cult….

    1. Landlords are more evil than child molesters, serial killers and rapists… COMBINED!

    2. We demonize landlords to make it socially acceptable to strip them of their property and reposition it for our personal use. (Just how the Nazi’s started out initially with the Jews, before they upped the ante and started gassing them)

    3. We use the canard of “Compassion” to try and shame and make others think it’s amoral to control and use the property they are the rightful owners of. That by our theft and seizure their property, they magically become “good” people. (this does not work well with anyone who has brains, but luckily for us there are plenty who don’t).

  • Dean

    It’s not all about money either guys! I left SF when the Rent Board decided that I needed “just cause” to ask someone to move out of the home I owned and shared with a half-dozen others. When a speed-freak was accidentally allowed in, a lawyer advised that it would be best for me and my dog to move during the 6 months it would take to get the guy out. There are over 10,000 vacant apartment in SF today because owners are justifiably afraid to share them. This isn’t just an LGBT problem.

  • @imjustmetobe on twitter

    I think you should come to DEEPSOUTH were we live in stark reality with HIV/AIDS an not in San Fran an live above our means in a fantasy , you are finally seeing the reality of life. You guys there have become spoiled with all the services but in the real world down south we are under funded an go through this all the time, no pity from me. But for those really poor an sick I hope they find a good place to call home. https://www.facebook.com/hivasouthernepidemic