Q Foundation helps bi woman obtain housing
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A bisexual woman who recently secured an apartment thanks to the Q Foundation said that the move to permanent housing has saved her life.
Patricia Hayashi, 60, was evicted from her Western Addition apartment, where she had lived since 1970, 13 months ago. Hayashi had undergone full knee replacement surgery shortly before her eviction. She had also been diagnosed with amyloidosis, a form of cancer. Hayashi's doctor would not allow her to begin chemotherapy until she had a home because the treatments would make her nauseous and drain her energy.
"I feel so peaceful, so human, so complete," she said in a recent interview just after moving into her unit. "My puppy kept dragging his bed and bowl by the front door of the apartment thinking we are not staying. We both got the best sleep ever because we are safe, warm, and not outside sleeping with one eye open."
Hayashi said that she lost medical and other services after being forced onto the street.
"My former landlord knew about my illness," Hayashi told the Bay Area Reporter as she and Brian Basinger, who runs the Q Foundation, met in the office of her new landlord to sign her lease before she moved in. "I lost my physical therapist, my in-home care, and my Meals on Wheels."
Hayashi and her small dog, Snow, currently get around with a walker. Her belongings are in storage, but can soon be moved into her one-bedroom unit; she plans to restart the services she lost. The mid-Market apartment includes a full electric kitchen, a walk-in closet, and a walk-in shower, which will be helpful for Hayashi due to her disabilities.
The bulk of Hayashi's $1,133 monthly rent will be paid for by the Q Foundation, which provides rental subsidies for low-income LGBTQ people with HIV and other disabilities, as well as for low-income LGBTQ seniors. Q Foundation also has a free lunch program and offers seminars during which the homeless are taught how to apply for below-market units online.
Both Basinger and Hayashi smiled as assistant property manager Moe Hakimi went over the terms of the building's standard lease agreement.
"I'm very happy," Hayashi said as she signed the lease. During her months on the streets, Hayashi joined Basinger for a number of actions and hearings at City Hall, where they fought for funding so the Q Foundation could obtain housing for additional clients. Hayashi often broke down into tears when she spoke at these events.
"I don't want to die on the streets," she told several members of the Board of Supervisors.
And now she won't have to – her medical treatments should begin shortly, she explained.
"My cancer is not curable," Hayashi said. "It got into my lungs and is now in my heart. The treatments will lengthen my life."
Hayashi added that she hopes to live for five more years, with good quality time. Without the treatments, two years is all she could hope for.
Basinger also expressed joy over Hayashi's lease signing.
"Every time the work my co-workers and I do leads to safe, decent, and affordable housing for our members inspires me to continue the work – I want to work harder, longer, and smarter because the model we've created works," he said.
Hayashi expressed her gratitude to Q Foundation. "Without Q's guidance, I wouldn't know how to go online and apply for a below-market unit," she said. "You need guidance to do this."
Now that she's moved in, Hayashi said that she has already begun making friends in her new abode.
"My neighbor is super sweet. He helped me throw my trash away and gave me his number if I need anything," she said. "For a big building it's full of such friendly people – I got invited to a Fourth of July party here."