San Francisco – October 16, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks today at a press event following a tour of the Robert B. Pitts Apartments, the site of a HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) rehabilitation project with Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julián Castro and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor, for your generous introduction, for your tremendous leadership and for making possible this coming together here today. You used the word ‘demonstrate’ and RAD – Rental Assistance Demonstration – has that word ‘demonstrate’ in it. So here we all are to demonstrate to the Secretary as to how San Francisco not only responds to initiatives from the federal level, but really demonstrates how they could work and how they could work better. It’s really an honor to be on the program with Orieyonna Johnson – her grandfather, is that pretty exciting? And how proud he would be to see you a leader carrying on in that tradition. Wasn’t she wonderful?
“San Francisco is a very special place, Mr. Secretary, and I’m honored to welcome you here to see how we respect people. We respect our residents. And when we’re going to have new housing, it’s one-to-one replacing the residents who were here with those who want to continue to be here. It’s also about their self-determination about how a project will function, about how it will be run. And this RAD project will be a demonstration to the country of the way to get the job done.
“In San Francisco, we are entrepreneurial in our thinking. We like to take advantage of, exploit in the best possible way every opportunity that HUD provides through grants and policy, every opportunity that the code enables us with low-income housing tax credits and other tax considerations which enables us to have public-private partnerships joining with our non-profit partners and really demonstrating to the country how we can respect our residents, have them have affordable housing in a way that maintains community. Because this fight over housing is really a challenge that is about the soul of our city. We are a city that wants to be representative of every aspect of life in our community – that cultural diversity as well as economic variation is something that is important to the fiber of who we are. Our mayor has been such an incredible champion on this subject. He and London Breed – she said she was the supervisor from this area, that she grew up in the neighborhood. The mayor acknowledged she is the president of the board and has used that opportunity in a way to benefit individuals. I salute Madam Chair – president, Madam President, that has a nice ring to it – for her leadership.
“The mayor has done a great deal to bring jobs to San Francisco and I’m glad you mentioned transportation, Mr. Mayor, because it gives me another opportunity to salute our president, Barack Obama. Under the Recovery Act that was passed, we were able to do so many things for San Francisco. You know why? Because San Francisco could demonstrate that they knew how to be a model to the nation, to have initiatives that were of national significance. So if it’s the continuation of Third Street Rail, Central Subway, Transbay Terminal, Presidio Parkway, whatever it is, jobs immediately, promotion of commerce and transportation, cleaning the air, promoting quality of life, this is really important. But sometimes those advances raise the prices of housing in a community. So we have to mitigate for that one part of that success by addressing it directly. And that, Mr. Mayor, is the full package – job creation, the transportation initiatives, which are job immediately and jobs in long-term, but also recognizing the responsibility we have to have affordable housing in our community.
“This Secretary is, really, a remarkable – he was a mayor, so we’ll grant him that. His brother serves in Congress with me – his twin brother, Joaquín. Julián Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio – we won’t talk about the Spurs and Warriors just now. However, I had the privilege of being invited to his swearing-in. I wish you could’ve been there. I went really of course, to pay tribute to the new Secretary of HUD but I mainly went because I was honored to be invited, so I could say directly to his mother, Rosie: ‘Congratulations.’ Rosie’s mom came practically barefoot into our country. This is the American Dream personified. She – under the success of herself – raised twin boys trailing along to public civic events, growing up with the sense of responsibility of giving back. They had the advantage of the best education, some would say, that our country could provide and they were prepared to give back. Like I said I serve with Joaquín in the House of Representatives, his twin brother – and Mayor [Julián] Castro went from being the Mayor of San Antonio to the Secretary of HUD.
“And on that day – let me read this, so that I get it right – but the President said, ‘Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong sustainable neighborhoods…rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among our veterans,’ thank you, ‘and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed.’ He has, in the one year he has been secretary, lowered mortgage insurance premiums to make home ownership more affordable, helped families access strong neighborhoods with housing choice vouchers and empowering local leaders with new tools to invest in their communities. And that’s one of the reasons we’re here today, that is one of the reasons we’re here.
“In July of 2015, just a couple of months ago, President Obama launched one of Secretary Castro’s signature projects ConnectHome, which accelerates internet adoption in 28 communities, providing broadband electronic devices to children living in public assisted housing. Secretary Castro continues to strive to make housing a platform that helps folks achieve a better quality of life.
“These two men – one former mayor and one current mayor – have that goal: to achieve a better quality of life for the people for whom we are responsible. We think, Mr. Secretary, that San Francisco is a model to the nation. We are very proud of the successes – the challenges and the success that we’ve had. We think that when we take on a project, we will do it in a way that is of national significance. We’re not competitive or anything.
“We’re not proud or anything. We want to help everyone, and I know you do, too. Please let us welcome this wonderful, great Secretary of HUD, Julián Castro.”
Contact: Drew Hammill/Evangeline George, 202-226-7616