Dec 13What is Sunnydale Hope SF?
San Francisco is one of the world’s greatest cities, with beautiful neighborhoods and a vibrant economy. But residents of Sunnydale, a public housing community in the southeastern part of the city, haven’t felt the benefits of their city’s prosperity. The WWII era barracks-style apartments have fallen into disrepair due to decades of disinvestment, and the community lacks the basic amenities of a San Francisco neighborhood, such as fresh food, access to a public gym, and safe spaces for young people to play.
At long last, however, change is in the air at Sunnydale. It is home to a dynamic and diverse community of about 1,700 individuals who care deeply about the future of their neighborhood. Residents have joined with Mercy Housing California and our partners to advance Sunnydale HOPE SF, an ambitious initiative designed to improve the quality of life for current and future residents of all ages.
Together with the City and County of San Francisco, we are implementing the HOPE SF transformation plan, developed with the input of hundreds of residents of Sunnydale and the surrounding Visitacion Valley neighborhood:
Mercy Housing California, Related California, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and the San Francisco Housing Authority are working together to replace Sunnydale’s 775 obsolete, poorly maintained apartments with a mixed use neighborhood of 1,700 high-quality, energy efficient homes. Today, more than 30% of Sunnydale households have moved or will soon move into new affordable apartments constructed by Mercy Housing and Related California at Sunnydale or in other San Francisco neighborhoods, and we expect that more than 50% will be enjoying a new apartment by the end of 2024.
Our work in Sunnydale centers on addressing the root causes of safety issues, increasing access to jobs, and supporting neighborhood schools. Resident leaders help our staff and partners to understand what services and opportunities are needed in the community. We have also hired local residents with deep ties to the community to oversee violence prevention programming, while recommending public and private investments in the neighborhood that will help residents stay safe. We’ve also established a strong relationship with the neighborhood’s police department, providing officers with opportunities to go beyond enforcing laws and become trusted, integrated community members.
HEALTH AND RECREATION
Construction of a new recreation center is a great example of the results of resident advocacy. While 79% of San Franciscans live within easy walking distance of a recreation center, the closest public gym to Sunnydale is two miles away. The new Community Center will be a great space for families to gather and for kids to play, and will provide a much-needed social outlet for local youth, many of whom don’t feel safe traveling to other neighborhoods. Residents of all ages will enjoy wonderful health benefits at the new Herz Recreation Center.
EDUCATION & YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Supporting young people their entire lives is the focus of the Sunnydale Hub. We’ve assembled a dream team of early childhood education providers (Wu Yee Children’s Services and Felton Institute) and joined with the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco to help prepare young people for success in school and to support their development into healthy adults. Mercy Housing’s Youth Center leadership program engages older teens in community service and employed youth to distribute more than 150,000 meals to seniors and families during the pandemic.
To date, 73 Sunnydale residents have been hired onto our construction teams or provided training for careers in the construction industry. This has created opportunities for community members to benefit immediately from their neighborhood’s revitalization, while setting them up for family-sustaining careers. We’ve also partnered with both the San Francisco Offi ce of Economic and Workforce Development to set and exceed ambitious goals to hire locally owned small businesses as construction partners, and with the Visitacion Valley Neighborhood Access Point to connect residents to non-construction work opportunities.
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