- Associated Press - Friday, May 8, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Hundreds of protesters rallied at City Hall for a temporary halt to evictions in a popular San Francisco neighborhood where workers in the booming technology sector are accused of pushing out long-time tenants.

Protesters wore red T-shirts that said “Just Cause” as they chanted “Whose house? Our house” and “We’re here to stop evictions” inside City Hall’s rotunda Friday. A small drum and horn band played outside.

The protesters want a one-year halt on tenant evictions in the diverse Mission District and a two-year moratorium on construction of gleaming condos and other market-rate developments.

Patricia Davis, 56, has lived in public housing in the Mission since 2006 and said much of the new housing in the area consists of condominiums that older people and people with families can’t afford.

“I’m here because we need more affordable housing,” she said.

Oscar Palma, 25, lives in the city’s Inner Richmond neighborhood and said he’s had friends evicted and forced to leave the city.

“We just want everyone to live in San Francisco who wants to live in San Francisco, and to have a fair chance,” he said.

Housing prices in San Francisco are among the highest in the country, fueled by a technology jobs boom in Silicon Valley and in parts of San Francisco. Young tech workers particularly like the Mission neighborhood, where they can hop company shuttles to go to work at places such as Google or Facebook while living near plenty of eateries and bars, including upscale spots.

The district has lost lower-income and middle-income households, according to a recent study by the nonprofit Council of Community Housing Organizations. Families with households making $50,000 to $75,000 made up a quarter of Mission households in 2000; now they make up 13 percent while households with incomes of at least $100,000 have increased.

Gabriel Metcalf, president of urban policy think-tank SPUR, said a moratorium on new housing won’t bring down prices in the Mission. 

“Sometimes when people are scared, they do things that make their problems worse. Unfortunately, this is what is happening in San Francisco right now.”

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