Elderly, disabled SF residents say they've been without a working elevator for 3.5 weeks

Melanie Woodrow Image
Thursday, February 16, 2023
Elderly, disabled SF residents without working elevator for 3.5 weeks
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Elderly and disabled residents living in HomeRise affordable housing in San Francisco has been without a working elevator for three and a half weeks.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco supportive housing building for elderly residents and residents with disabilities has been without a working elevator for three and a half weeks.

HomeRise provides affordable housing to approximately 120 elderly residents and residents with disabilities at 666 Ellis St. Last month, the building had a fire that set off sprinklers.

"The elevators were on the first floor, and it was raining. It was pouring down raining in the elevators for hours," said Matt Traywick.

The water destroyed electrical circuits and wiring and made the elevators inoperable.

"A lot of people called the city hall, 311, everywhere," said Sadie Giokas.

For three and a half weeks, residents say they've struggled to navigate 13 flights of stairs.

"I had to go downstairs -- it didn't bother me -- but when I had to go upstairs it really hurt," said Yolanda Villasenor, who walks with a cane.

"We had one resident who slept downstairs this weekend because he couldn't get back upstairs," Traywick said. "We have people that are stuck and can't get out to get groceries and can't get them delivered. It's been horrible and we've heard nothing from the management."

The interim CEO for HomeRise tells ABC7 News they've added additional staff to assist residents and have also ordered and delivered food and supplies.

The company wrote in an emailed statement, "Residents continue to be offered the option of being relocated during this time until the elevators are fixed."

HomeRise says contractors were on site the morning of the fire and have been waiting for parts to arrive.

"But it just seems in a building like this, this a community that really needs reliable elevator service," Traywick said.

"It's a huge problem when an elevator is out in a building like this," said San Francisco District 5 Supervisor Dean Preston.

Preston says the Department of Building Inspection issued a notice requiring the elevators to be fixed.

He also says during the budget process last year the Senior and Disability Action Group said setting aside dedicated funds for elevator repairs was one of their top priorities in the budget.

"So that tells you that this is not an isolated situation in one building," Preston said.

"The problem is that we went through this in September no elevators and waiting on parts for weeks," Traywick said.

"One elevator went down in December, waiting on parts, so what happens the next time the elevators go down," he continued.

HomeRise's Interim CEO told ABC7 News he didn't have the history of any elevator problems readily available but that he checked with a staff member who said she didn't recall any in the last couple of years. He also shared the elevators have not been inspected by the state since 2018. The ABC7 News I-Team previously uncovered the backlog of state elevator inspections.

"Bottom line, we are here now waiting for the part," Giokas said.

This leaves a vulnerable population of residents feeling stuck.

Take a look at more stories by the ABC7 News I-Team.

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