Our guest speaker on March 11 was Ben Amyes, Disaster Response Coordinator for the San Francisco Human Services Agency (HSA). He explained how he’s able to help families and individuals who’ve been displaced by fires and other natural disasters. 

Tenants of non rent-controlled units can apply to receive a one-time payment to cover the move-in cost to a new unit. The program makes the payment directly to the landlord of the new unit.

Tenants of rent-controlled units can receive a monthly rent subsidy that pays the difference between the rent at the tenant’s permanent residence and a comparable unit leased at the current market rate. The subsidy can last for up to two years, or until the permanent address is ready to reoccupy. Rent-controlled tenants have the right to return after repairs are completed.

To find suitable housing, Ben said he works with a network of landlords, including the Northpoint Apartments complex which club member Aline Estournes manages. He currently has 35 clients, about 150 individuals. Ben said no other city in the U.S. provides this type of housing subsidy to victims of disasters.