Mercy Housing California to Receive $100,000 Our Town Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts


For Immediate Release:  May 20, 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Mercy Housing California has been approved for a $100,000 Our Town grant to support The Community Stories Project, a public art initiative and partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission and several community-based organizations. This is one of 63 grants nationwide that the agency has approved in this category to support projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes—ultimately laying the groundwork for sustainable systems change.

“As the country and the arts sector begin to work towards a post-pandemic world, the National Endowment for the Arts is proud to announce this Our Town funding. These awards will support cross-sector partnerships such as the one lead by Mercy Housing California that demonstrate the power of the arts to help communities create a better future for themselves,” said NEA Acting Chairman Ann Eilers.

The Community Stories Project will capture, preserve, and share the stories, experiences, and memories of residents from Sunnydale public housing and the surrounding Visitacion Valley neighborhood through arts-based expression that honors their rich multicultural history, while also creating a welcoming space for future residents to add to the ongoing community narrative.

“San Francisco is proud that the Community Stories Project has received a prestigious NEA Our Town grant,” said San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed. “I know firsthand the power of the arts to transform communities, change lives, and strengthen neighborhoods. This meaningful project will enable the Sunnydale and Visitation Valley community to tell its story and will ensure the arts continue to be a central part of this HOPE SF housing development.”

Sunnydale public housing and the surrounding Visitacion Valley neighborhood are undergoing a long-term, multiphase revitalization process through HOPE SF, the nation’s first large-scale community development and reparations initiative for distressed public housing sites aimed at creating vibrant, inclusive, mixed-income communities with new housing, parks, and neighborhood spaces without mass displacement of the original residents. The Community Stories Project will support residents of this diverse neighborhood in collectively contributing to a creative vision for their changing community while honoring their unique history and integrating the arts—a central component of the revitalized community. The Community Stories Project will bring artists, residents, and community partners together to plan and design creative works that will be integrated into new community spaces currently being developed, such as parks and the community center.

“The diverse residents of the Sunnydale-Visitacion Valley neighborhood have compelling stories of resilience spanning generations that they are eager to share, and Mercy Housing California is honored and excited to be part of this process. Thanks to National Endowment for the Arts, Sunnydale-Visitacion Valley residents will have the opportunity to creatively capture and share their unique history through artwork and projects that will live at the heart of their revitalized community. Mercy Housing California is deeply grateful to National Endowment for the Arts for this Our Town grant award and to our many community partners in HOPE SF for making this effort to lift up residents’ voices through community art possible,” shared David Fernandez, Sunnydale Transformation Project Director.

For more information on the projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit

Contact:  Kate Peterson | 303.830.3443 |

About Mercy Housing California

Mercy Housing California (MHC) is the largest regional office of Mercy Housing, Inc. (MHI), a leading national affordable housing nonprofit. MHC’s mission is to create stable, vibrant, and healthy communities by developing, financing, and operating affordable, program-enriched housing for families, seniors, and people with special needs who lack the economic resources to access quality, safe housing opportunities, serving lower-income families, seniors, and people who have experienced homelessness. With offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, MHC has developed over 10,000 affordable homes across California. To learn more about MHC, please visit For more information about Mercy Housing California’s work with Sunnydale HOPE SF, you can visit