U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joined San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today to show the positive impact that federal stimulus funding has had on the city.

Pelosi, D-San Francisco, and Lee were flanked by construction workers this morning at 220 Golden Gate Ave. in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood where federal funding made reconstruction possible.

Built in 1910, the building was originally a YMCA until the nonprofit Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation took over the site.

The TNDC planned to convert the YMCA into a housing and wellness facility for the city’s homeless in 2009.

“The project was initially slated to begin construction in the fall of 2009, but the down economy intervened,” said TNDC Executive Director Don Falk. “If not for the stimulus act, none of this would be happening.”

With nearly 60 percent of the reconstruction budget coming from federal funding provided by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Pelosi cited this project as a prime example of the “swift, bold action” President Obama promised two years ago.

“San Francisco has always been in the lead,” Pelosi said.

She praised the city for its innovative ideas and “proposals that are worthy of national support.”

Pelosi said the new and improved building would not only create better lives for the 174 homeless people who will be housed there, but has already helped make a difference by creating nearly 400 new jobs.

Two members of the construction crew spoke of how thankful they were to be back at work after being unemployed.

“Thanks to projects like this, I can look forward to continued employment,” Mark Graeven said.

Pelosi welcomed two young boys to the podium and spoke of the responsible community that was being built for future generations.

The talk veered off topic, however, once the microphone was passed to the boys.

Michael Wellman, 9, wanted to know where Pelosi stood on gun control and Asante Lewis, 10, expressed his displeasure with Gov. Jerry Brown’s plans for the state budget, particularly in regards to education.

Pelosi acknowledged California’s large deficit but wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the governor’s budget.

“Nothing brings more money to the treasury than investing in education,” she said.

Erika Heidecker, Bay City News

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