As part of the efforts to make Chinatown sustainable, U.S. San Francisco has funded programs to help preserve the country's oldest historical neighborhood.
The city announced on Wednesday the preservation of two buildings in Chinatown for senior Chinese immigrants with low incomes.
San Francisco is an expensive city in the United States to rent a home. A one-bedroom apartment cost 3,560 U.S. dollars a month, according to November's data of rental platform Zumper.
San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest in North America and the largest outside Asia, is at a "critical juncture" because of aging buildings and infrastructure and gentrification pressures, said Chinatown Community Development Center (Chinatown CDC), an advocacy group.
Under the city's Small Sites Program, two adjoining buildings in Chinatown are being acquired and rehabilitated by the group with 4.55 million dollars in funding from the mayor's office and another 3.5 million dollars from East West Bank.
The move will ensure that 16 homes remain permanently affordable for residents who are predominantly Chinese seniors with low incomes.
"Protecting tenants, preventing displacement and preserving existing affordable housing is critical to keeping communities across San Francisco vibrant and strong," said Kate Hartley, director of the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development.
Almost 40 years ago, San Francisco was facing a wave of displacement, said Norman Fong, executive director of Chinatown CDC.
Thanks to the project, a 99-year-old tenant who was displaced from her apartment in 1980 now has permanently secured a home, he said.
With a history of more than 150 years, Chinatown has been a cultural hub and destination attracting international tourists.
However, the community of more than 14,000 residents and over 900 small businesses has been on a decline in the past few years.
Another project, San Francisco Shines program, is underway to restore old signs in Chinatown.
One of the oldest standing signs in San Francisco and also one of the most famous ones is Li Po Lounge, which has been up since the bar opened in 1937.
But the sign was partly broken and there was corrosion and rust over the time. With funding from the city, this neon sign has recently been restored and is ready to attract customers back to this old Chinese historical neighborhood.