SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Troubles continue at the high-rise building 33 Tehama St. where 500 San Franciscans were displaced at the beginning of last month after a water main failure. Some residents were told they could re-occupy the building on Aug. 1, but now they’re told they may not be able to come back until next year.
Not a single person has lived at this building on 33 Tehama St. since June 3 when a water main failure flooded out this high rise.
Many residents have since been living in hotels or short-term housing. Now they’re once again back at square one — forced to find extended housing options.
“I didn’t know what my living situation is going to be next month, and I just felt so traumatized because one thing after the other and I just felt like they turned their backs on us,” said resident Sophie Cheung.
Cheung just learned that she won’t be able to return home for at least another five months. She’s been living in short-term rentals since June 3 after she and hundreds of other residents were forced to evacuate 33 Tehama St.
The high-rise apartments became uninhabitable after a water main failure sent 20,000 gallons of water cascading down all 35 floors of the building.
“I had to start a new credit card for the situation,” Cheung said. “My credit score dropped by like 50 points, which is a lot and I just feel on edge. I feel so stringed along because I don’t what’s happening. I don’t know where I’ll be.”
In its latest message, real estate development and management company, Hines, told residents that instead of reoccupying the building in waves between August and October as planned, they wouldn’t be able to return until late 2022, early 2023 due to projected elevator shaft repairs.
Cheung and others were also notified that Hines would no longer provide housing reimbursements after Aug. 17.
“I just don’t even know how to react to that because it’s really hard to find short-term rentals, you know, furnished as well,” she said. “It’s extremely expensive in San Francisco area, so without that help, it’s really affecting all of us, especially my finances. I’m out 10 grand right now.”
This comes after residents were given several different re-occupancy dates, making it extremely hard to make any future living plans. As a consequence, some have already decided to terminate their lease and leave the building.
“You know you don’t convince someone to go live at your place and then when something happens, basically abandon them or go back on your word because we have multiple emails where they said we will compensate you until we can reoccupy again. They just completely understand gone back on that,” Cheung said.
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On Monday, Supervisor Matt Dorsey sent a letter to Mayor London Breed — calling on city officials to find placements for tenants of 60 below market rate units at the apartment building. Dorsey also wrote to City Attorney David Chiu requesting a review of whether the building’s ownership is doing what’s legally required for the displaced tenants.”
Now many residents will have to decide whether they want to move back into this building once its repaired, and it’s still unclear when that will happen or terminate their lease by Aug. 17.
After that date, residents will no longer have access to the building unless they have a scheduled move out, so many are now scrambling to remove their belongings.