© 2023 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Crosscurrents logo 2021

Ellis Act evictions: Diego Deleo

Melanie Young
Diego Deleo sits with another evicted tennant, Theresa Flandrich

  Seventy-eight year old Diego Deleo likes to sit in San Francisco’s Washington Square, sharing poems with neighborhood friends. But Diego’s landlord recently evicted him, so he’ll have to move on.


“My name is Diego Deleo. I live in North Beach, and I have been Ellis Acted about two months ago so I have another 10 months to stay, and then I move out. I have to.


“I live in North Beach 40 years, 40 years. I moved in there with the wife. Now, she passed away. I’m by myself. The doctor said find something to do, because I was too lonely. It’s terrible to be alone. I started to write.


“And through the little things I write, I call them poetry, I make a lot of connections in North Beach. I have a lot of friends that meet at Washington Square. I make a lot of connections in North Beach. We get together, we talk about things that I never thought I’d be able to do. Because I’m into it now, I love it. North Beach is my life.


“So, I receive this Ellis Act notice. I didn’t know what Ellis Act was. And then I read in the paper, there’s an epidemic of Ellis Act all over the city.


“And so I went to see, how they call them, the assistance for the elderly about eviction. So they suggest me, that I will have to go by the Ellis Act, I cannot fight it.


“For an old person like me, pretty soon I will be 80 years old. I go five, 10 miles from here. It’s difficult to get adjusted to a new environment, friends, stores. It will shorten my existence considerably.


“Furthermore, you live 30, 40 years in one place, all the love and the spirit of the experience, and the wife, and the family member there.

A lot of memories there. The move is not a picnic, not a good thing. But I accept it, what can you do? That’s capitalism, that’s reality.


“I don’t know. Well, because I’m alone now, a studio will do. A small place, a studio. I should be able, well, I don’t make much money. Social security pension, because I worked for city for 25 years. I used to be senior escort program.


“We will see. At my age it’s a death sentence in a way. It is, hurts.”