Filipinos in the South of Market
The Filipino community has been an integral part of San Francisco’s South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood and has contributed to the viability of the area since the turn of the century. As newly arrived immigrants, most Filipinos could not afford to own property and settled in the area as low income tenants. The tremendous rise in property value, continued proliferation of large scale developments and gentrification threaten to completely displace the SOMA-Filipino community. In 2001, concerned citizens of the San Francisco Filipino community held a series of town hall meetings to address the needs of the community and proposed the development of more affordable housing, employment opportunities, and the establishment of Filipino institutions to prevent further displacement of its SOMA-Filipino community.
The South of Market neighborhood is home to a vibrant yet largely invisible low-income Filipino community, some of whom reside on narrow streets named for Filipino national heroes – Rizal, Mabini, Lapu Lapu, Bonifacio, Tandang Sora. The San Francisco Filipino Cultural Center (SFFCC) will join Filipino-serving SOMA and San Francisco institutions – the Bessie Carmichael School, the only Filipino bi-lingual school in San Francisco; the Victoria Manalo Draves Park, named in honor of the locally Filipina American US Diving Gold Medalist; the Filipino Education Center; the Bayanihan Community Center; Arkipelago Bookstore; the Veterans Equity Center; the Bindlestiff Studio; the Manilatown Heritage Foundation; and Kularts, St. Patrick’s Church – to support Filipino families, arts and education in the neighborhood and across the City.