It's one thing to hear about the number of families being forced out of their apartments with Ellis Act evictions. It's another to see the phenomenon bloom over the past 16 years like a nasty red rash. The San Francisco Tenants Union just released an amazing (slash depressing) time lapse Ellis Act Anti-Eviction Map that makes very clear the explosions (their word, and an apt one) of displaced families in the city, particularly in the Mission, Hayes Valley, Tenderloin, and SOMA neighborhoods. But really, with Ellis Act evictions doubling in the past year, every neighborhood gets its turn here.
The Tenants Union's Anti-Eviction Mapping Project created the time lapse visualization as a way of taking the depressing statistics we see in news stories and giving them additional impact. If you've been evicted through the Ellis Act, or if you know someone who has been (and in this city it feels like most of us do), you can help the organization by completing this survey and adding your tale to the mix. The plan is to continue building upon the collected data – AEMP wants to add oral histories, demographic info, and other personalized components to this project over the next year.
And just what is the Ellis Act? The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project explains: "The state law gives landlords to 'go out of business' and evict tenants, and then form group-owned tenancy-in-common flats or condos. Condos are forever exempted from rent protections even if subsequently rented out. This Ellis Act came into effect in 1985 but was not used en masse in San Francisco until 1998 when the Dot Com bubble impelled investments and speculation to rise. It has been displacing San Francisco residents since then, currently at an alarming rate."
Makes me glad to have a thoughtful, family-man landlord overseeing my building. Knock on wood.