San Francisco Nonprofit Accused of Neglecting Tenants, Misusing Funds

A major housing organization with city contracts is neglecting poor housing conditions in its buildings while amassing lobbying power and political influence.

2 minute read

March 16, 2023, 11:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

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An investigation into a San Francisco housing nonprofit highlights how a lack of city oversight can harm vulnerable tenants while organizations take advantage of public funds. Josh Koehn and David Sjostedt report on the story in The San Francisco Standard.

“Internal financial records show that annual revenue for TODCO’s main nonprofit entity has more than doubled over the last decade while it has steadily reduced the share of revenue it spends on its residents, who are low-income and disabled seniors and formerly homeless people.” According to Koehn and Sjostedt, “In many ways, TODCO offers a case study of how nonprofits in San Francisco can leverage huge sums of taxpayer dollars for political activity while neglecting their core mission.”

The article details the organization’s growth and its involvement in San Francisco political causes—some overtly progressive, others aimed at halting development, in some cases preventing the construction of new housing. “TODCO’s eight properties in SoMa charge fair-market rates, and most of its 900-plus tenants pay 30% of their monthly income. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development—with some assistance from the city’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing—subsidizes the remaining cost.” Yet TODCO, led by John Elberling, “has become notorious for blocking market-rate housing projects.”

Meanwhile, “A review of complaints with the SF Department of Building Inspection confirmed that the eight SoMa properties owned by TODCO, which has $48.5 million in assets and receives multimillion dollar contracts from the city and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, have repeatedly had issues with infestations, mold and heating in recent years.” The source article includes stories of shootings and drug overdoses in the buildings, which tenants say management has done little about.

Thursday, March 9, 2023 in The San Francisco Standard

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