In 1964, the City of San Francisco approved the massive Yerba Buena Center Redevelopment Project to demolish Third Street's "skid row" and to build a convention center. To fight back, in 1969 the poor and elderly tenants living in its dozens of rundown residential hotels and apartments organized Tenants and Owners in Opposition to Redevelopment (TOOR) and vowed "We Won't Move!" TOOR filed a federal lawsuit demanding decent relocation housing that brought the redevelopment project to a halt for four years.
Despite bitter political attacks against TOOR, the City and Redevelopment Agency were legally forced to provide four sites in Yerba Buena Center for new housing to replace demolished residential hotels and provide City Hotel Tax funds to finance their development. This came at a time when the idea of neighborhood-based housing development organizations - instead of public housing and charity groups - was new. TOOR became TODCO (Tenants and Owners Development Corporation) in 1971, San Francisco's second, non-profit, "community-based housing development corporation."
Today, 35 years after its inception, the TODCO Group has realized an outstanding list of achievements and has set standards for community development nationwide. At its core is TODCO's Housing Developments. These developments now include eight apartments and SRO residences, totaling 963 living units for the elderly, the homeless, hotel tenants, and persons with disabilities. Currently, we house more than 1,200 community members.
We have addressed our residents' vital need for professional support services and active social involvement, and introduced our Resident Services and Activities Program which provides programs such as our Nutrition Program and Inner City Arts Program.
We have broadened our Neighborhood Development Program to make it possible for other SOMA community-based organizations to also build new community centers and clinics, and to start new senior and youth programs that serve all SOMA residents - such as the Adult Day Health Center, the future Bayanihan Community Center, and the Serving Our Youth and Community coalition.
We have been on the frontline, challenging downtown expansion, and becoming active participants and activists addressing the impact of 40 years of "redevelopment" and the last 5 years of rapid dot.com-live/work" gentrification" upon the South of Market's vulnerable communities - especially hotel tenants, Filipino-American immigrant families, and the homeless.
Our bold Mission which began in the 1960's, beginning with the TOOR's defiant declaration "We Won't Move!" and expanded to the Sixth Street Corridor in the 1990's and today has had the greatest impact on our South of Market Neighborhood.
Achieving our Mission Statement's vision of SOMA as a "just and inclusive Neighborhood of Opportunity" is a much bigger task than any single community development company like TODCO could ever attempt alone. It requires consistent efforts by hundreds of residents, diverse community groups and nonprofit organizations, housing developers and service providers, working over many years with enough resources and capacity to succeed. And it requires the consent and ongoing cooperation of City Hall and its political establishment - not always willingly provided. Foremost of all in South of Market, it requires the City's Redevelopment Agency that so dominates its history.
We have built a strong reputation in the South of Market Neighborhood as developers and operators of eight quality affordable residences in the Yerba Buena Center and the Sixth Street Corridor. As South of Market Neighborhood Builders, TODCO has served as caring and effective providers of supportive resident services for its 1,000+ elderly and SRO tenants.
TODCO's experience and leadership in neighborhood-building, has made it an organization of excellence and commitment. With the help and support of our partners and residents, we will continue to provide high quality residences and services for our South of Market Community.