San Francisco’s Mission District Welcomes Seniors to Casa de la Misión

The Mission District is among San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhoods, and for more than 100 years has been the hub of Latinx culture and business in the city. It’s also among the city’s most rent-burdened communities, with about 35% of residents paying more than 30% of their income on housing. New construction hasn’t kept pace with the influx of highly paid workers to the area over the last decade, and rising rents have displaced many lower-income residents of color.

All this makes Casa de la Misión, Mercy Housing California’s (MHC’s) newest permanent supportive housing community, a deeply welcome addition to the neighborhood. On September 7, 2021, residents, partners, and government leaders celebrated the opening of this architecturally striking five-story community with 44 homes for seniors exiting homelessness, co-developed by Mission Neighborhood Centers (MNC) and MHC.

The opening of this new community represents a long-time dream for MNC – and one that might not have come to pass if it hadn’t been for the group’s bold advocacy. Back in 1994, PepsiCo was eyeing the land at the corner of 18th and Harrison Streets in the heart of the Mission with plans to install a new Taco Bell restaurant. MNC, a trusted community-based organization, wanted to provide empowering, multi-cultural, multigenerational social services and negotiated a deal with the seller to purchase the site and put it to better use for their community.

The building had been used for different purposes for 16 years, but in 2019, MNC sold the site to MHC to create new much-needed affordable housing. This new permanent supportive housing community provides affordable, service-enriched homes for seniors exiting homelessness, and commercial real estate to contribute to the area’s bustling community of small businesses. Funding for the development got a big boost from the Betty Poetz Ferguson Foundation, whose significant contribution helped to complete Casa de la Misión and is supporting the development of three more MHC senior communities.

Guests at the virtual dedication event heard from Michael and Jannette, two seniors who just moved into Casa de la Misión after experiencing homelessness. San Francisco has a serious city-wide problem with senior homelessness: researchers at the UCSF Benioff Homeless and Housing Initiative estimate that over 50% of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco are over 50 years old. While there’s much work left to do to turn the tide, the opening of Casa de la Misión represents a step forward in MHC’s statewide effort to keep California’s seniors housed and healthy.

Missed our dedication event? Hear from Jannette and Michael, two new residents, about their experience transitioning from being homeless to finding a home at Casa de la Misión.