Supporters hope efforts have bought evicted San Francisco family more time 

click to enlarge Community activist Norman Fong speaks at a rally Wednesday opposing the eviction of the elderly Lee couple. - EVAN DUCHARME/S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Evan DuCharme/S.F. Examiner file photo
  • Community activist Norman Fong speaks at a rally Wednesday opposing the eviction of the elderly Lee couple.

A well-attended rally enabled the elderly Lee couple and their disabled daughter to sleep in their longtime three-bedroom apartment on the night of their scheduled Ellis Act eviction Wednesday, and support groups are confident their efforts have bought the family more time.

Hours after meeting with members of the Sheriff's Department on Thursday morning, the Lees' advocates on Twitter, @stopsfevictions, posted a link to a Facebook comment stating: "It is our understanding that the sheriff's eviction process will take several days to re-start and the soonest we can expect another eviction attempt is Tuesday. Community organizations will need your presence to help the family again when that date arrives."

Asian Law Caucus attorney Omar Calimbas, along with a housing advocate from the Chinatown Community Development Center, were unable to get a specific date when deputies will next attempt to evict the family. The eviction comes under a state law, the Ellis Act, that allows landlords to remove tenants when they wish to leave the rental market.

Instead, eviction assistance deputies worked with advocates to explain to the Lees their options for temporary housing and other referrals for service.

"They were fine," Calimbas said of the family. "I think some of the pressures had lifted since [Wednesday], because of how large the rally turnout was. It was a really moving experience for the family and for them to be allowed to stay another night in their home. I think that helped."

The landlord, Matthew Miller, and his attorney could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Mark Nicco, assistant legal counsel at the Sheriff's Department, said the demonstration Wednesday outside 1508-A Jackson St. with more than 100 people brought "the largest number I've seen, I think, from all the accounts that I have been given."

The next eviction date and time may be determined today, Nicco said, and tenants usually do not get informed again after the original notice to vacate.

"We assess every situation that gains a lot of notoriety and determine the best course to go," said Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey. "For the next time, I'm sure that their eviction team's evaluation of the situation will inform them and they will be equipped to handle it peacefully."

Fahey added that San Francisco is the only county she knows of in California with an eviction assistance team. Currently it only includes two full-time employees, she said, but Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is looking into expanding the team.

About The Author

Jessica Kwong

Jessica Kwong

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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