Veterans may lose homes; San Francisco says apartments are illegal

More than a dozen low-income veterans are worried about losing their small apartments in San Francisco because the city claims the apartments lack the necessary permits.

KTVU was invited into one of the apartments in what appears to be a single-family home on Revere Avenue in San Francisco's Bayview.

John Brown showed us around his one-bedroom apartment where he's lived for six years. Brown is an army veteran who served in Vietnam.

He says he was one step from homelessness until he found this apartment. But brown is in jeopardy of losing his apartment.

The city attorney is suing the landlord, Judy Wu. It is also seeking to shut down 15 of her housing units, which she rents to low income people, most of them veterans, including Brown.
Wu has converted the house into six single occupancy apartments in this building and has made similar conversions in other buildings in the Bayview.

But the city alleges that many of units were built without proper permits, are substandard and not up to electrical and plumbing codes.

But the question is, if the units are closed down, where can the tenants go?

"I'm confused about the whole matter. Not knowing what to do, where to go. Stress has been created," Brown said. 

The tenants are skeptical the city can find them suitable housing. They're afraid of where they may end up.

"I have my own separate unit with a kitchen. I have a bathroom with handicapped fixtures," said army veteran Fred Bryant who uses a wheelchair.

Tenants and their advocates asked the planning commission to delay making any decisions on closing down the units.

"Where is the city going to find 15 comparable units? These people have done nothing wrong. They don't deserve to be displaced," said Tommi Avicolli Mecca of the nonprofit Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco.

The commission agreed to continue the issue until October, to give the city more time to find the tenants proper housing.