Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

News Briefs: LGBT center launches economic justice week


Tenants and partners Oona Hanawalt, left, and Alison Panko shared their story with the Bay Area Reporter this summer and will be featured on a panel about affordable housing. Photo: Rick Gerharter
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The San Francisco LGBT Community Center will launch a week of programs and events examining how the economic landscape in the city continues to affect the LGBTQ community, particularly around housing and employment.

Themed "Beyond Survival," the economic justice week runs from October 19-25, and will include an award reception (October 21, 6 to 8 p.m.), and a career fair (October 22, noon to 3 p.m.).

One of the highlights will be a public forum entitled "The State of Affordable Housing for LGBT San Franciscans" Monday, October 20 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The forum, held in partnership with the San Francisco Human Rights Commission's LGBT Advisory Committee, will bring together community stakeholders, housing experts, and city representatives to facilitate a conversation about the housing affordability and its effect on the community. It will also feature information on the city's below-market-rate rental policy as well as how to access and participate in the city's first-time and inclusionary home ownership programs.

Bevan Dufty, the director of the city's Housing, Opportunity, Partnerships, and Engagement program, will moderate the panel. Other scheduled panelists include Jeff Buckley, senior adviser for Mayor Ed Lee; Kate Hartly, deputy director of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development; Clair Farley, associate director of economic development at the LGBT center; Bill Hirsh, executive director of the AIDS Legal Referral Panel; Oona Hanawalt and Alison Panko, a San Francisco LGBT couple facing eviction (who shared their story with the Bay Area Reporter this summer); and Tommi Avicolli Mecca, a longtime queer economic justice and housing activist.

All events take place at the LGBT center, 1800 Market Street. For a full list, visit


Castro Lions pledge matching grant to LGBT center

In other LGBT community center news, the Castro Lions Club has pledged a $45,000 matching grant to the nonprofit, and both groups are asking donors to make a donation between now and December 31 to help the center raise $45,000.

Gary Nathan, Castro Lions president, told the Bay Area Reporter that the "whole idea is to get people thinking about the center again."

"It helps LGBTQ youth, seniors, and the transgender community," Nathan pointed out, adding that the funds come from Kim de Steiguer, a gay man who died of AIDS complications several years ago and wanted his money to help the community.

Roberto Ordeñana, the LGBT center's development director, told the B.A.R. he is confident the center will meet its goal. Donors can include those renewing membership, new members, or others who donate to the center between now and the deadline.

According to the center, the funds will support a broad range of services, including youth, economic development, and community and cultural programs.

To donate, go to and click on the "Donate" button. People can also contribute by attending the center's annual Bold Awards, which will take place November 13.Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at


Wiener holds pumpkin carving contest

Gay District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener will hold a pumpkin carving contest and community fair Sunday, October 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the site of the new Noe Valley Town Square, 3861 24th Street.

In a news release, Wiener said he is having the event to say thank you to neighbors, parents, dog lovers, kids, and supporters. The day will include a light lunch and non-alcoholic beverages. People are asked to bring their creative carving ideas, as a celebrity panel of judges will oversee the pumpkin contest.

People are asked to register for the free event to make sure there are enough pumpkins and can sign up at


AHF to leave Church Street space

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which runs a pharmacy and thrift shop in San Francisco's Duboce Triangle neighborhood, is expected to leave its space at 100 Church Street after a settlement was reached in the eviction lawsuit filed by the nonprofit Maitri hospice, which owns the space.

Maitri filed the unlawful detainer complaint against the Los Angeles-based AHF June 27, claiming that the foundation didn't pay rent from September 2013 to just days before the lawsuit was filed.

In a response filed in September, AHF said it paid about $184,000 due in rent June 24, a figure almost $80,000 lower than what Maitri said it was owed. The settlement was filed in San Francisco Superior Court October 6.

Maitri Executive Director Michael Smithwick said he couldn't comment on details of the settlement, including how much AHF would pay Maitri.

AHF's pharmacy and Out of the Closet thrift store are expected to vacate the space by November 15.

The hospice, which provides 24-hour residential care to people living with AIDS, would like to find another nonprofit to fill the vacancy "as soon as possible," "ideally" one "that is somewhat aligned with our mission," Smithwick said.

Besides the Church Street pharmacy, AHF also has another pharmacy on 18th Street in the Castro. The foundation will move the Church Street pharmacy to 18th Street. The nonprofit is planning an HIV treatment center for 518 Castro Street, and has sued the city and District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener over whether the new location should be subject to formula retail rules. Following such guidelines is likely to slow down the process. That lawsuit is pending.

A grand opening of the new Castro space is planned for October 24.

AHF operates three Out of the Closet shops in San Francisco. Ged Kenslea, an AHF spokesman, said merchandise from the Church Street location is being sold at discounted rates and staff will be absorbed into the other shops.

Another lawsuit in which Maitri makes similar rent claims against AHF is pending. A settlement conference in that case is set for October 29.


LGBT history at Oakland senior living facility

Karen Sundheim, program manager for the James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center at the San Francisco Public Library, will give a visual presentation on LGBT history Thursday, October 23 at 3:30 p.m. at Lake Merritt Independent Senior Living, 1800 Madison Street in Oakland.

The event is part of the Lake Merritt's conservation series in which community leaders and experts in a variety of fields give presentations to the community. The event is free and open to the public.

Sundheim's presentation will be illustrated with photographs from the Hormel center's extensive archival collection and will focus on important achievements in LGBT history and the arts in the U.S., with particular emphasis on the Bay Area.

For more information, call (510) 903-3600 or visit


Get 'Un-Qorked' at Queer LifeSpace benefit

Queer LifeSpace, an LGBT therapy collective, will hold its Q-Ball, "Queers Un-Qorked" benefit Thursday, October 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Mission Cultural Center, 2868 Mission Street in San Francisco.

The evening promises to be a magical one that supports queer-focused mental health care and honors local LGBTQ leaders. Top Castro restaurants will donate hors d'oeuvres. Beverages will include the "Queertini." There will be a queer youth poetry slam, silent auction, and live jazz by Daria Johnson 4.

Honorees are Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, who will receive the Community Advocate Award; Cheryl Dunye, who will receive the Queer Artist on the Ground Award; and Benji Delgadillo, who will receive the Queer Youth Visibility Award.

Tickets are $30 or there's a two-ticket special for $25. Proceeds benefit Queer LifeSpace. For tickets or more information, visit


Project Open Hand open house

Project Open Hand will hold an open house Thursday, October 23 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at its offices, 730 Polk Street in San Francisco.

The nonprofit provides meals and groceries to the critically ill, including people living with HIV/AIDS.

According to an email, the open house will celebrate the agency's recent expansion of client services; include tours of the kitchen, greenhouse, and grocery center; and a tasting menu of client meals. People will also hear early findings of Project Open Hand's Food = Medicine pilot study.

Space is limited. Those planning to attend should RSVP to Hannah Levinson at or call (4150 447-2494.

Seth Hemmelgarn contributed to this report.


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