TNDC to celebrate 30 years of service

Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation students
May 3, 2011 7:48:38 PM PDT
In the heart of one of San Francisco's most challenging neighborhoods, is a program that is providing housing for thousands of people. Its clients not only get a home they can afford, but also a supportive community.

Little Lovell and her family of five, live in a well-maintained two-bedroom apartment they can afford, in San Francisco, thanks to the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation . It's called TNDC for short, and it provides affordable housing.

"I like this building, my apartment because it's quiet, safe and clean," said resident Morena Perez.

Perez is from El Salvador and left because it wasn't safe for her family there, but, she feels secure in the Curran House in the Tenderloin.

"With Tenderloin, they give you a lot of information," said Perez.

The TNDC program is unique, because tenants like Morena can turn to social workers like Shatae Jones, for referrals to food banks, counseling and jobs.

"One of our themes is housing retention. For me, housing retention is not just how long folks are staying, but how are they enjoying their stay," said Jones.

"TNDC was started in 1981 with one rundown, single occupancy hotel. We have grown to 30 buildings, 2,500 units of affordable rental housing for 3,000 tenants," said TNDC executive director Don Falk.

There is also the Tenderloin After School Program for children. It is run by program manager Laura Choe.

"A primary service that we provide is homework assistance. We do that four days a week and that is for all ages," said Choe.

Young people like Sondra Ortega and Elvin Friaz came to the program as students when they were younger. Now, they've been hired to help the next generation and they have dreams of going to college.

"I used to be participant and now I'm the one teaching the other kids," said Ortega, a program assistant.

"I want to help out my community because it helped me out. I'm not out there doing other things I'm not supposed to be doing," said Elvin Friaz, a program assistant.

"My kids, one day they are going to be something, maybe doctor, maybe teacher or something," said Perez. "They are like a family. We're feeling like a family."

The TNDC families know they belong to a community that offers hope.

I will be hosting a fundraiser for TNDC next week. The program celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.


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