Over the past fifteen years, a lack of affordable housing has contributed to some Bay Area neighborhoods losing more than 20% of their API residents.

Addressing the Housing
Crisis Hurting API Families

Rising rents are an insurmountable burden for many low-wage Asian and Pacific Islander (API) workers who are already struggling to survive in the Bay Area. Many face stark choices for their families. Some are forced to leave the region entirely, while others endure cramped, even dangerous, living conditions out of fear of leaving their tight-knit community. An Asian Pacific Fund affiliate, Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), is on the front lines of the battle to provide affordable housing and offers the following insights:

APF: What challenges do APIs face when it comes to housing in the Bay Area?

CCDC: Entire sectors of our community are being priced out. Many people don’t know that a huge number of low-wage workers in this region are API. For example, Asians make up the plurality of members in San Francisco's hotel and restaurant workers union.

APF: Where are families turning to for housing?

CCDC: Many of our low-wage workers and new immigrants are leaving. They’re heading to the outer ring suburbs and the periphery of the Bay Area to cities like Tracy and Vallejo. We also are seeing a version of homelessness in our community becoming more acute. This is a situation where people are living in spaces that are not supposed to be used as housing, like garages and kitchens. 

APF: What is CCDC doing to address the crisis?

CCDC: We focus on three areas: help tenants understand their rights in the face of an eviction threat, upgrade and preserve existing residential buildings, and build more affordable housing. There is too much high-end housing and just not enough affordable housing being created in the Bay Area.

APF: Can you share a recent example where CCDC has made a significant difference?

CCDC: We recently completed the Broadway Sansome Apartments for families in San Francisco. This is deeply affordable housing—accessible even for the homeless. We received 3,500 applications for 75 units. We know this will transform the lives of those 75 families. We also have more than 300 new units in development and have started upgrading 570 public housing units. Creating these housing options is critical to our most vulnerable families. 
Top photo for illustrative purposes only/iStockphoto
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