Roy Recio + The Manilatown Heritage Foundation

Monday, August 09, 2010

Housing. Basic needs. Sometimes you just gotta remember what some of the struggle is all about.

TREFNY: We're talking with Roy Recio. He's the board president of the Manilatown Heritage Foundation. So with a lot of different parts of town that have single room occupancy hotels, that have people living on top of themselves - in Chinatown, for example - what do you, as an affordable housing advocate, what are some of your target areas where you're actually seeing differences made or you think that more attention needs to be paid specifically?

RECIO: Well, that's a struggle. I think that what's happening is that people are moving out of San Francisco. You can see that really in the census, which will be coming out soon. You know as far as the Latino, the African American community, the Filipino community moving out.

Ironically, the Chinese community is growing. And we're just seeing in housing advocacy that when we have a housing unit that's coming up online - for example, we have one right now on 7th Street and it's going to be above the South of Market new health care center there. We have 40 units, roughly, for family housing, and we're going to have well over 5,000 applicants for those 40 units, to give you an idea of the breadth of what we need to do to accomplish fortified housing for those in the working class communities.

TREFNY: As an affordable housing advocate, when you're looking at places like the I-Hotel, which is primarily Filipino Americans, if you're in Chinatown and you're looking at a lot of Chinese Americans or recent immigrants, what role does cultural preservation play in your fight to retain affordable housing?

RECIO: Oh, it's a big struggle. One thing we're fighting for in the South of Market is to try and designate SOMA as SOMA Filipinas, which is really a launching point for Filipino immigrants to come to. They feel like there's a plaza there, if you will, because there's the Filipino education center, there's a veterans' equity center. There's united players, and there's also other service agencies like the South of Market Health Care Center to really address the culturally and linguistically appropriate needs of the community. So there's an infrastructure there we're trying to get recognized. We can do it socially, but when we talk about trying to preserve it physically, it's really challenging.
Get it in full here.