“S.F. family loses fight, evicted after 34 years”
Thursday, October 24, 2013


Dear Editor,

On Thursday, October 24, the Chronicle published “S.F. family loses fight, evicted after 34 yearsconcerning the Lee family who lost their rent-regulated apartment after the owner of the building decided to convert it into more profitable market-rate housing. From 3,000 miles across the country, my organization has stood in solidarity with the work of Chinatown Community Development Center and all other San Francisco activists who fought on behalf of the family.

Situations like that of the Lees are all too familiar here in New York City and elsewhere in the United States. The State of New York has no law like the Ellis Act, but landlords still employ other nasty tactics to drive low-income, rent-regulated residents out of their apartments, including issuing exorbitant non-rent fees. In one case, an apartment owner in Manhattan’s Chinatown went so far as to purposely neglect to maintain his building so the City would order it demolished. A new hotel he owns which is on an adjacent property is now thriving while eight low-income immigrant families have been permanently displaced from the neighborhood.

During these economically distressed times, affordable housing for families like the Lees is needed more than ever across the country.  According to New York University’s Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Development, rents in New York City have continued to rise over the past decade while incomes have remained stagnant. In addition, HUD estimates that more than 12 million households in the U.S. pay at least 50% of their annual income for housing. While the battle for the Lees to retain their home of over 30 years was lost, affordable housing advocates will continue to mobilize for the preservation of affordable housing.


Christopher Kui
Executive Director
Asian Americans for Equality