My name is Jeremy. I am a 62 year old gay man and I have AIDS. Before I was diagnosed in 2001, I was working in web design for Chevron, a job that I really enjoyed doing and with great co-workers. For more than 17 years now, the building at 460 Noe Street has been my home and, for the past 11 years, my refuge as I have tried to regain some semblance of health. Even though most of my San Francisco friends have either died or retired to Palm Springs, I had still planned on living here in the Castro neighborhood that I love and that I have been a part of for over 35 years. Of course, as a disabled person, unable to work, and living on a limited fixed income, this has only been possible because of rent control.
Now my home is threatened as the new property owners (a company made up of three real estate speculators based in Union City) have served me with an eviction notice dated September 10, 2012 using The Ellis Act. This means that now the only advantage that I have as a “protected tenant” under rent control is that I will have one year to vacate (until September 10, 2013) instead of the usual 120 days. After months of the new owners and their lawyer trying to use subtle intimidation tactics to get me to vacate, I have chosen to stay and fight this eviction in any way I can. I have gotten great advice and support from people at the San Francisco Tenants Union and from two outstanding counselors at The Housing Rights Committee of SF, Chris and Tommi. Their best advice has been to get myself a good lawyer with some success fighting Ellis Act evictions (which I have obtained from The Tenderloin Housing Clinic), and to publicize my situation to gain community support. The latter advice resulted in my front window signs and starting this website.
Any public support I can gather during this year and publicity I might get as a result, in the community and city at large, with government officials and the media, can only help to further my cause by shining a light on the owners of my building's participation in abusing the Ellis Act to evict a disabled senior for profit and similar abuse by other real estate developers of others like me.
I have little choice but to fight my eviction, because if I have to move out of my rent-controlled apartment I will also be forced to move out of San Francisco as well since I will no longer be able to afford living in the Castro or anywhere else in the City with rents at least 2-3 times higher than I am paying now for a comparable one-bedroom apartment.
Working on this website has been a bit of a struggle with all my health problems mostly because of chronic fatigue and a sleeping disorder I have. I am also undergoing weekly physical therapy stemming from chronic upper and lower back pain from a degenerative cervical spine (the neck) and lumbar spine, along with problems walking due to progressively worsening peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) in my feet and ankles and related restless arm and leg syndrome. My daily walks and exercises take up quite a lot of my time and tend to wear me out so I am lucky if I find time or the energy to work on my website once or twice a week.
All in all, my current home has been a godsend in regards to the closeness to my doctors, physical therapists, pharmacy, grocery, etc. I fear I will not find such qualified and knowledgeable doctors and specialists were I to be forced to move outside of San Francisco. In other words, I fear for my future health.