cityhall3.jpgCommunity members held a rally at San Francisco City Hall this afternoon supporting legislation that would mandate bathroom grab bars and telephone jack installations at single-room occupancy buildings.

The rally was attended by roughly 50 people who held signs that read, “Handrails not Handouts” and “Great Minds Need Landlines.”

The legislation was discussed today during the land use and economic development committee of the city’s Board of Supervisors.

Supervisor Eric Mar, one of the sponsors of the legislation, said the legislation would make it “safer for elders and those with disabilities.”

Other sponsors include Supervisors David Chiu, David Campos, Jane Kim and John Avalos.

Joanna Fraguli with the Mayor’s Office on Disability said her office has also been involved in the issue and plans to make a technical assistance manual for property owners if the legislation passes.

Carla Johnson, interim director of the office, said the manual would consist of photographs and diagrams demonstrating where the grab bars can be installed.

Johnson said, “This legislation is smart, it’s simple, and economically sustainable and should provide minimal burden to property owners in the implementation.”

Dan Jordan, a peer counselor with the Central City SRO Collaborative, has lived at a private SRO building in the city’s South of Market neighborhood on Sixth Street since 2003. Jordan said he has fallen in his bathroom multiple times due to its smooth tiles, which are older than ones in other facilities.

Jordan said the previous owners of his building would not install bathroom grab bars unless the city required it, highlighting the high costs property owners would incur.

Jordan has a telephone jack installed in his room and said the benefits of a telephone jack at SROs for the elderly include allowing them to make doctor appointments and call family members.

With five supervisors from the 11-member board sponsoring the proposal, Jordan said he hopes the legislation will pass.

“I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” he said.

Other organizations at the rally included Senior and Disability Action, Community Tenants Association and the Mission SRO Collaborative.

Jamey Padojino, Bay City News

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