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Crosscurrents logo 2021

Ellis Act evictions: Theresa Flandrich

Melanie Young
Theresa Frandrich sits next to recently evicted Diego Deleo

  Theresa Flandrich has lived and worked in North Beach for decades. She worked as a nurse at the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center and raised her son in a two bedroom apartment on Lombard Street. In April, 2013, she was evicted under the Ellis Act.

“My name is Theresa Flandrich. I live in North Beach on Lombard Street. I’ve lived here for 30 years. In April of this year I received an Ellis act notice that I will be evicted.

“Seven o’clock in the morning on April 11th, the door bell rang. And, there was a server. My son answered the door and he was just given the papers. I was offended. I was hurt. I was shocked.

“I cried, and then all of the neighbors we got together immediately. My son had to go off to work. And he said, the first thing he said was, ‘Oh my God. This is the only home I’ve ever known. I didn’t expect to live here all my life. But I expected you to be here, Mom. This is where we’d continue to celebrate all our holidays and the neighborhood.’

“If I’m unable to find something here in North Beach, I don’t know. How do you recreate a community? How do you duplicate that? Because it has to do with the time you’ve invested in it.

“Housing for me, because I’m not over 60, I don’t fit into the senior housing realm. So it’s more difficult.

“I look on Craigslist. I look in every newspaper. I keep looking. I go up and down the street looking for little signs in the windows or a sign of a vacancy. I follow moving vans.  

“My son will move with me initially, so we’ll have his income in addition. $1600 would be doable. In the past that would have been a realistic rent. So we’ll see. We joke about how we’ll put up tents in Washington Square. If they could do it in 1906 after the earthquake, we can. A new tent city, a refugee camp if you will.  

“People should know what’s happening. What the Ellis Act is. It’s a myth that there’s a protected class. The seniors and the disabled are not protected.

“Anyone just starting out or with a limited income won’t be able to live here. That’s what I wish people would know. Because I didn’t know, when neighbors suddenly disappeared over here on Stockton, I did not know what was going on. People need to know, people need to see, instead of experiencing in a few years, the fabric totally changed and only a certain income and only a certain age group would live here as opposed to the multi-generations.

“It’s destroying the neighborhood.”