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SRO Revisted

I learned almost everything I know about SRO's from long conversations with Andy Raubeson who I came to understand, after he passed away, was considered the 'godfather' of the SRO.

Andy lived in my apartment building here in the New Chinatown Japantown Historic District. In the late 70's after stints in City agencies including with the Model Cities, he started to restore many of the old hotels as SRO's for what became Central City Concern. Later he was recruited by the Mayor of Los Angeles to put their Skid Row into better order. He acquired and refurbished 1,274 hotel rooms in the city's skid row district.

I was impressed with Andy's dedication to improving the lot of the men living on skid row, largely alcoholics back then, and his commitment to making skid rows decent places to live. I know more about housing, recovery, and how things work here in Portland than I did before I met Andy. A lot more.

So, today when I noticed this rental opportunity from the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development, it was the first time I have ever seen an SRO units offered for rent, let alone 9 of them, as part of the Inclusionary Below Market Rate (BMR) Housing program a.k.a. affordable housing. I was ready for it.

Several weeks ago the folks over at Central City Concern emailed me a copy of a presentation on SROs. Click here.

CityLab visual storyteller Ariel Aberg-Riger takes a look back at the critical role Single Room Occupancy housing played in early 20th century urban life.

It's terrific. I recommend it so that when the next rental notice for SROs shows up, you'll have a much better appreciation for what an SRO represents.

Did you notice that the new SRO is priced at $883 a month (with private baths and kitchen units) at 55% AMI? Minimum income required is $2,083/month.

Here's the link to the listing. Were you surprised at its design?

Ruth Ann Barrett, Portland's Caring Community, Old Town Chinatown, Portland, Oregon March 26,2018,

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