Making her mark on the Hunters Point community
Those looking for a way to give back to their community could take a lesson from Nicole Clay. A resident of the Hunters Point West Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, Nicole felt the urge to get more involved in the local community and interact more with her neighbors. Following that call to action, Nicole has become invested in the Hunters Point neighborhood in more ways than one – and she says she has SFHDC to thank. Nicole – who has two daughters and two grandchildren – not only serves as a lead volunteer for the food pantry service at SFHDC’s 1065 Oakdale Ave. site, but she has been elected Vice President of the Hunters Point West Residents Council. She is also involved with the Candlestick State Park ambassador program and assists with SFHDC’s computer digital literacy program.
Beyond the opportunity to take part in different facets of the neighborhood, Nicole said some of the most rewarding aspects of the programs are “engaging with the community and helping out more.”
Having lived at Hunters Point West for 23 years, Nicole said she learned about SFHDC and its various supportive services when staff came to the development for meetings with residents to explain some of the anticipated changes and opportunities. As the lead service provider at the property as part of the RAD program, which leverages investment in public housing, SFHDC has offered a variety of on-site supportive services to help residents set and achieve personal goals. Nicole recalled how she was intrigued by the opportunities SFHDC would provide and wanted to learn more about how she could get involved with the activities. One of the supportive programs with which she has become most active is the food pantry at the Oakdale community room, where she helps SFHDC staff oversee the operation. “I just try to get more nutritious food in the community and engage with my neighbors and everyone else that comes to it,” she said. Taking pride in being more involved in her neighborhood than she ever had been previously, Nicole credits SFHDC for providing that avenue and encouraging others to pursue a similar call of service. “(SFHDC) is a great help to the community as far as bringing things back into the community and keeping us informed on what’s going on,” she said.
“Gloria gets me so motivated!” – Donna Fontenot*
Gloria, a teaching artist, moved to Bayview Commons with her husband Kenith in November 2011 after he had been diagnosed with kidney disease. They had left their home in Las Vegas because he could only get his kidney replaced in San Francisco. After waiting four years, in October of 2015, Kenith finally got a new kidney and his health is now slowly improving. Despite being in a completely new city, not only was Gloria was able to take care of her husband but she also advocated for other residents to make Bayview Commons a better home for everyone.
In the last four years while living at Bayview Commons, Gloria earned a Bachelor’s degree from Mills College, she continued to perform, created her own skincare product, taught as a substitute teacher, and got into a prestigious Master of Fine Arts program at Goddard College. Her goal is to start her own production company, making creative and educational television shows for children.
* Donna Fontenot is a former Bayview Commons Resident Service Coordinator and Certified Life Coach
The Jackson* family came to the San Francisco Housing Development Corporation after living in their Bayview home for 12 years. Their two small children had known their rented house as “home” for their entire lives. As a writer and teacher, Mr. and Ms. Jackson were lucky to have an apartment under rent control – until their landlord began harassing them. Their landlord had already forced out the Jacksons’ neighbors to bypass rent control and triple his profits. Now, the landlord had turned his attention to the Jacksons, and had been threatening to kick their family out. Without a rent-controlled apartment, the Jackson family had no option but to leave San Francisco and the Bayview neighborhood that they love. Desperate, the Jackson family came to San Francisco Housing Development Corporation (SFHDC) seeking help. They took our workshops, attended individual financial counseling, and were referred to a partner organization for legal help. Through our layered services, they were eventually able to purchase an affordable condominium that SFHDC had developed. “I don’t know what we would have done without you,” Mr. Jackson told us, “You saved this family!” *Name changed for privacy.