More than 200 protest possible U.S., city affordable housing cuts

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) More than 200 people from tenant and neighborhood groups rallied in front of the Federal Building in San Francisco today at noon to protest potential federal and city cuts in affordable housing.

"Housing is a basic human right. It's so important that we stand up for a basic human right," said Rene Cyprien, a San Francisco tenant whose apartment is subsidized with vouchers under the federal Section 8 program.

Cyprien said that after being evicted by what he called a predatory lender, he was homeless for a year before obtaining affordable housing under the voucher program.

"Thank goodness for public housing," he told the crowd.

"(President Donald) Trump talks about making America great again.

You want to make America great again, take care of our homeless people and housing for our seniors and our veterans," he said.

The rally was aimed at protesting both Trump's proposed $6 billion cut to programs of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a San Francisco Planning Commission hearing today on proposed legislation on affordable housing requirements for developers.

Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco said, "The Trump budget makes massive cuts."

It has been estimated that the cuts will cause the loss of more than 200,000 housing vouchers nationwide, she said.

Organizers said more than 30 tenant, faith, labor and neighborhood organizations were represented at the rally. The speakers included tenants and union representatives and their comments were translated into Cantonese.

Groups carrying large banners included the San Francisco Community Tenants Association, Senior and Disability Action, Tenderloin Chinese Rights Association, Tenderloin Filipino-American Community Association and Council of Community Housing Organizations.

After a 40 minute rally, the participants marched to City Hall, where the Planning Commission was conducting a hearing on whether to recommend legislation to the Board of Supervisors to change the formula for
the amounts of low-income and moderate-income affordable housing developers are required to build.