Bernie Sanders new campaign video puts spotlight on SF affordable housing crisis

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is taking aim at San Francisco's affordable housing crisis with a new campaign video highlighting the problem in the city's Chinatown neighborhood.

The video begins with the Vermont senator's wife, Jane Sanders, taking a tour of a single room occupancy (SRO) building in Chinatown. She speaks with a woman, identified as Mrs. Yu, who told  Sanders that she shares a 6 foot by 10 foot room with her husband and two sons. 

Yu also described how one bathroom was used by six people and that the SRO has one kitchen to accommodate 30 other tenants.

"San Francisco is one of the most unaffordable cities in the United States," according to the Bernie 2020 campaign, "and like other big American cities, it's dealing with a major affordable housing crisis."

The video illustrated the struggles of finding affordable housing, noting that the median rent for a one bedroom apartment in the city has reached $3,690 a month.

According to the Sanders' campaign, the city has 600 SRO units, with more than 400 concentrated just in Chinatown.

"49% of SRO's house three people in one room, 40% house four people, and 11% house more than five people," the Bernie 2020 campaign wrote in a press release.

During Jane Sanders' visit to Chinatown, she also sat down with community leaders and members of the Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and Community Tenants Association (CTA). 

"Even today, every time that I mention my eviction case that was in 2013, I still feel upset," Gum Gee Lee told Sanders. "It took us a long time to find housing, and we weren't able to find housing because we have a disabled daughter in my family. It was because of CCDC's work and advocacy that we were able to find what we have today."

The center has 34 properties across the city and provides housing to more than 4,500 low-income families, adults, and seniors.

The video ends with Jane Sanders taking a tour of a CCDC owned building called Ping Yuen. It was the first housing project aimed at serving low-income and working-class Asian American residents in the city.

During her visit, the senator's wife sat down with 92-year-old Chang Jok Lee, who moved into Ping Yuen with her family in 1952. She told Sanders that she's long fought for tenants' rights and that in 1978, she organized the first public housing strike in the nation, demanding better and safer conditions in public housing complexes.

The video highlights a central theme of the Sanders' presidential campaign and comes after the Vermont senator unveiled his proposed 21st Century Economic Bill of Rights last month.

He said the proposal seeks to complete the unfinished work of Franklin D. Roosevelt. "At its core, the fight for basic economic rights is a fight for American freedom," Sanders' campaign said. "Freedom for All includes guaranteed health care, living wages, and the right to fair, affordable housing."