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Families protest Ladies Home closure

Families and elderly residents protested at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza this afternoon against the planned closure of a longtime elderly care center in San Francisco.

University Mound Ladies Home, a licensed state residential care facility located at 350 University St., has served elderly residents since 1884 and currently has 53 residents.

The assisted-living facility, which now served both men and women, was first established through an endowment from philanthropist James Lick in the late 1800s to serve low-income elderly women.

The endowment was exhausted in 2008 but until now the facility had managed to garner community and political support and stay afloat.

Earlier this month, however, The University Mound board of trustees issued eviction notices to residents, family members and other representatives.

The board informed residents that the building was closing, citing debt load and an imbalance of revenue and expenditures. In the letter, the board wrote:

“We have explored every possible option in a concerted effort to continue operations.”

According to the notice, the residents have until July 10 and the center is working with the state’s Community Care Licensing on relocation plans and will help residents find alternative living arrangements.

At the rally at Civic Center Plaza elected officials, residents, their families and other senior citizens protested the impending closure, carrying signs that said “University Mound keep it around” and “Save our mothers,” amongst others phrases.

San Francisco Supervisor David Campos shared his support for the historic center telling the demonstrators “the city has an obligation to step in.” He said he is working with the mayor’s office to add $300,000 to this year’s budget to keep the facility open for at least another year.

He called for a more long-term solution and said if the care center closes it sends the wrong message to seniors.

Campos told the gathered crowd he is working to rescind the July 10 deadline and give residents reassurance that they do not have to move:

“Even if you don’t have the means, we as a city will take care of you. …  We can do better, San Francisco. San Francisco owes you dignity and respect.”

Christopher Valenti, an advocate for elderly residents in San Francisco, said there are alternate plans in the works to keep the center open, such as urging the trustees to donate the property to another nonprofit resident care operator.

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