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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Time’s Running Out for a Great-Great-Grandmother Facing Eviction


Evelyn Shauf’s landlord has given her 72 hours to vacate the Mission apartment she’s lived in for 40 years. If she lived alone, she might have been long gone.

But the 82-year-old San Francisco native has family to worry about.

“I found love here,” she said, “and I want to see my family in this house.”

Shauf’s determination turned the Ellis Act of 2019 eviction notice into a years-long battle that continues to this day. She’s not alone: ​​Unless the city government steps in to help low-income families, they could easily lose their footing in San Francisco overnight.

A state mandate to build 82,000 new homes by 2031 has put enormous pressure on San Francisco to balance growth while preventing displacement. One of the tools the city is using is a program designed to keep low-income, elderly, and long-term tenants in their homes by purchasing relatively small apartment complexes — hence the name, small site.

But when Shauf asked Small Sites to purchase the building where she lived, the city denied the petition.

Now, if no other buyers step in, Shauf could be evicted in the new year – along with his granddaughter, great-granddaughter and great-great-grandchild.

Iriss Duarte (left), Ellenita Garay (middle left), Evelyn Shauf (middle right) and Esmeralda DeLaCruz (right) outside the house where Evelyn has lived for 38 years. | Standard’s Justin Katigbak

But there may be some hope.

The change in the way smaller sites are scored could mean that Shauf’s candidacy will be reconsidered. Meanwhile, everything Shauf has built over the past four years hangs in the balance.


Born in the Philippines to a Filipino mother and a Cherokee and German-American father who served in the US military, Shauf says her parents taught her deep generosity. It’s a philosophy she brings to Mission, where Shauf is known for housing, clothing and supporting an entire family.

In 2020, she applied to the city to purchase and maintain her apartment building as affordable housing under the Small Sites Program. But the city government refused, suggesting relocation.

Shauf wants his family to stay where they are.

In 2020, her two sons died two months apart, one from a fentanyl overdose and the other from a stroke. Shauf raised them both in his apartment on Sycamore Street. Her great-granddaughter’s secondary school is within walking distance.

“This is our home,” Shaw said. “Not elsewhere.”

In one of the rooms of the house where Evelyn Shauf lived for 38 years. | Standard’s Justin Katigbak

The smaller sites received a $74 million cash injection from the city late last year and adopted a new scoring method for applicants over the summer that prioritizes seniors, people with disabilities, low-income and long-term residents. The mayor’s office told The Standard that Shauf’s candidacy is now being reassessed against the new guidelines.

Shauf would very much like the decision to be different this time around.

Shauf owner Michael Kambic told The Standard he wanted to sell the building to the Mission’s Economic Development Agency through Small Sites, but they couldn’t reach a deal.

last resort

Shauf said if the city buys the property, her family will be united and she will remain a pillar of the community.

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Ironically, some of the neediest buildings in smaller sites are also the hardest to spot. Low-income renters like Shauf often live in properties that have been neglected for so long that the cost of restoration becomes a huge burden on any buyer.

The Shauf house on Sycamore is a good example.

In Evelyn Shauf’s kitchen. The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development told the building it was ineligible for the small site. | Standard’s Justin Katigbak

“We’ve had expensive projects before,” Eric Shaw, director of the mayor’s office of housing and community development, told The Standard, “but from the start of this project, it was above our threshold at the time.”

That’s the challenge, and the executive director of the Cultural District of the Philippines, Raquel Redondiez, and other community leaders say the city should do more to meet it.

“They’re a perfect example of what small sites are all about,” Redondiez said. “It’s an institution on this street.”

The Shaufs have invested decades in a place where costs have risen, making that presence even more tenuous. Their combat performance impacted many other families.

“She’s been helping people for as long as I can remember,” Shauf’s granddaughter Elenita said.

“And I never, not once, paid my rent late,” Shauf added.


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