Evicted San Francisco family given 12 more days to find new housing 

click to enlarge eviction
  • Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Gum Gee Lee, left, and her husband Poon Heung Lee must leave their home.
The Lee family’s 10-day reprieve from a high-profile Ellis Act eviction expires today, but they have been granted another 12 days to stay in their longtime apartment — this time without the mayor’s direct intervention.

And this time, the elderly couple and their disabled daughter might be closer to finding a new home.

The landlord of 1508-A Jackson St. and seven other already vacated units in the complex agreed to the additional stay Tuesday morning, at the request of the Lees’ Asian Law Caucus attorney.

“We have done so without condition,” said the landlord Matthew Miller’s attorney, Jeffery Woo. “But we believe that they are making good-faith efforts and have found a place, that they needed the extra time to work out the arrangements and wanted to be cooperative.”

Following a rally at the Lees’ doorstep with more than 100 tenant advocates Sept. 25, Mayor Ed Lee — who is not related to the family — asked Miller to give his tenants 10 more days to find alternative housing.

“Fortunately, it was not necessary” to involve the mayor for the second stay, said Gen Fujioka, policy director for the Chinatown Community Development Center, which also took part in the 12-day negotiation.

However, Fujioka said the Lees have not found a definite prospect, despite many applications and phone calls. Two-bedroom apartments the Social Security-dependent family looked at in The City start at $3,000 per month, far above the $778 they currently pay.

“I know that they’re very stressed,” Fujioka said. “Although they have some relocation assistance that was provided, it’s not going to go very far with these rents.”

Since the first stay, the family has continued applying for places with help from the Mayor’s Office, the Presbyterian Church-Chinatown and word of mouth.

Mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey spoke generally of the office’s involvement: “We’ve been doing everything we can to continue helping the Lee family through this difficult time. We have continued talking with the building owner.”

For the Lee family, “every extra day is a victory,” Fujioka said. “Think about the worth to be able to stay in your home an extra day,” he said. “That in itself is something that is priceless for the family.”

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

Bio:
Jessica Kwong covers transportation, housing, and ethnic communities, among other topics, for the San Francisco Examiner. She covered City Hall as a fellow for the San Francisco Chronicle, night cops and courts for the San Antonio Express-News, general news for Spanish-language newspapers La Opinión and El Mensajero,... more
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