Minami Tamaki Partner B. Mark Fong (right in photo) and other members of the firm attended Chinatown Community Development Center’s (CCDC) 39th Gala and Tribute to Rose Pak on October 7. More than 800 guests joined together to pay tribute to Rose, including U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., and current Mayor Edwin Lee.
CCDC is a community development organization primarily serving Chinatown, North Beach and the Tenderloin. The organization plays many roles: neighborhood advocates, organizers and planners, and developers and managers of affordable housing.
Mark has served on the CCDC board of directors since 2013. He’s currently the chair of the board’s Governance Committee.
In late 2015, Mark worked with staff at CCDC to develop two Public Service Announcements which ran on Chinese television station KTSF to educate drivers and pedestrians on ways to avoid pedestrian accidents.
At least 800 pedestrians are hit by cars in San Francisco every year. In 2014 alone, 17 pedestrians died in the City. Seniors in particular face the greatest risk for being fatally injured when hit by cars. For many years, Minami Tamaki LLP has engaged in efforts to raise awareness of pedestrian safety, especially among seniors in areas such as San Francisco’s Chinatown and Japantown.
As a board member – and someone who grew up in Chinatown – Mark is proud that CCDC recently assumed responsibility from the San Francisco Housing Authority to own and manage the Ping Yuen housing projects, along with other public housing in the Chinatown cluster — a total of seven buildings with 576 units of deeply affordable housing for families and seniors in the heart of Chinatown.
Ping Yuen was built in 1955 and the buildings have never been substantially renovated until now. Under CCDC’s management, the Pings will be upgraded to meet seismic, structural, mechanical, electrical and safety standards, and each of the units will be renovated.
“This will require relocation of the tenants while work is being done, after which they will be invited to return,” said Mark. “This is a huge project which has required CCDC to increase the number of its staff to ensure the project runs smoothly and tenant relocation is handled with sensitivity.”
As a result of diminishing federal funds and declining investments in public housing, Mayor Lee selected Chinatown CDC and other nonprofit housing developers to participate in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which has brought in new resources to rehabilitate public housing such as the Pings.
Nonprofits such as CCDC depend on community members like Mark to help provide leadership and assistance. Says Mark, “Even though I grew up in Chinatown, serving on the CCDC board has taught me a lot about this community, and has given me the opportunity to support an organization which has made a tremendous impact to improve the quality of life for people not just in Chinatown but the City as a whole.”