Public Housing in Private Hands

Two front doors to apartments at Plaza East, the one on the right boarded up.

Yesica Prado/San Francisco Public Press

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development denied an application to raze and rebuild San Francisco's Plaza East Apartments. Supervisor Dean Preston has called for a hearing into what he describes as “uninhabitable living conditions” at the public housing complex in the Western Addition.

Plaza East apartments

Yesica Prado / San Francisco Public Press

A private developer proposes that Plaza East Apartments in San Francisco, built less than 20 years ago, be demolished and rebuilt. Tenants want to see a plan for repairs to existing homes.


“Public Housing in Private Hands” is a series that explores poor living conditions in government-run and other subsidized housing, examining the decisions of both public officials and developers. Stories also examine the limits of local and state eviction moratoriums designed to help those in economic need in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.  The reporting team includes reporter Nina Sparling, data journalist Frank Bass and research assistants Ande Richards and Imran Ali Malik, who are students at UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program.