The Postal Service Should Be Ashamed It Won’t Deliver to Single-Room Occupancy Tenants

Or alternatively, Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Accurate Census Endangered by Postal Service SRO Policy – that was going to be the title originally. Anyway, the second-largest civilian employer in the United States, your U.S. Postal Service, apparently doesn’t have enough people to deliver the mail to the 19,000 San Franciscans residing in Single Room Occupancy units.

So, what letter carriers do is just dump the mail in a big pile in the lobby, let’s say in a big building with 100 units, and then split. The Post Office treats people living for years in the same place as if they’re hotel guests. Of course a lot of SROs don’t have lockable residential mailboxes, but the reason for that is that the PO just ignores them – it maintains a mail dump policy irregardless.

This could pose a problem for the upcoming 2010 Census, right? Check it: 

Click to expand

That’s what was on display today down at 688 Commercial in the Financh / Chinatown area. It’s hard to figure where  U.S. Census forms should go to get to the right people.

And here’s a scene from today’s presser from San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera and Chinatown Community Development Center Deputy Director Norman Fong.

There’s a legal process going on right now that’s taking some time to resolve. Get all the deets on San Francisco’s action against the USPS here. (Let’s see, the PO’s motion to dismiss was denied and there’s been a couple of stabs at mediation so far.)

Herrera railed about the “incredibly irresponsible” postal service while Fong looked forward to “a day when everyone will get their mail.” 

Oh yes, here’s another from Herrera:

“Someone in an SRO should have the same service as someone living in a condo in the St. Regis.”

(The only person I can think of who lives at the Reeg there on Third Street / Willie Way is former Mayor Willie Brown. Mmmmm.)

This is the building discussed today:

Inside, U.S. Census worker Jade Wu is not pleased that these census forms still haven’t gotten to the intended recipients:

And here’s an attempt at a residential mailbox:


Sure seems odd that one federal agency is getting impeded by another, however independent it is.

And it’s not just the census, it’s everything else you should be getting in the mail

Do Americans have a right to mail delivery?

We’ll see.

Counting SRO Tenants in the 2010 Census. Difficulties highlight discriminatory mail delivery policies being challenged by City Attorney’s lawsuit against U.S. Postal Service 
SAN FRANCISCO (March 25,  2010)—City Attorney Dennis Herrera will join Chinatown Community Development Center representatives and tenants of single-room occupancy residential hotels, or SROs, to discuss the difficulties of assuring a complete count of every San Franciscan in the 2010 Census.  Among the most daunting challenges facing those who do outreach to communities at-risk of being undercounted is a policy by the U.S. Postal Service’s postmaster in San Francisco that treats SROs like tourist hotels—refusing individual mail delivery, and directing local letter carriers to drop unsecured mail bundles near building entryways and at front desks.  The discriminatory mail delivery policy is at the core of a federal lawsuit Herrera filed last May.  To date, attorneys for the postal service have been unwilling to discuss policy changes that would treat residents of SROs like other residents.

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8 Responses to “The Postal Service Should Be Ashamed It Won’t Deliver to Single-Room Occupancy Tenants”

  1. joseph says:

    anyone know what to do if you haven’t received a census? (is there even anything that can be done?) my mailslot is kind of hard to see. a couple weeks ago i noticed that my neighbor got her census but i still haven’t received mine. (her mailbox is right by my entryway but away from *my* slot.)

  2. sfcitizen says:

    In your shoes, I’d sit tight and wait for the doorbell to ring. They’ll see you next month. I don’t what else you can do…

  3. joseph says:

    hmm, well the doorbell doesn’t work and it’s a little hard to tell there’s an apartment here at the back of the house. oh well…when we get the results, add one single white guy in the castro to them. :-)

  4. Frederick says:

    Guess what. Nearly all of Park avenue in NYC gets a drop off delivery just like an SRO or Hotel. But they have responsible management that gets the mail to its residents
    SRO buildings are overly transient. By the time a resident starts getting delivery they’ve moved on. Now the post office is expected to somehow chase them around the country. Not happening
    Not the post office’s responsibility to buy mailboxes either. Landlord can, and mount a bank of them in the lobby just like any other apartment building.

  5. smaller goverment says:

    this is stupid every hotel will recive your mail for you and give it to you when you want it why should the PO have to take the time for this when the hotels have been doing this for 100’s of years and if the hotell has to pony up 1000’s of dollars to buy boxs or sort it them selfs what do you thin they will pick

  6. Don says:

    This is done every ten years. Sooner or later you would think someone would figure out how to do this. How about just have the hotel owners inform the census people how many people are residing at the hotel? They should know. Ya think?

  7. fred says:

    SF passed a law saying landlords have to put in individual mailboxes. But the post office is refusing to deliver. Often they don’t even take it to the desk and just trow it on the stairs where anyone can steal it. Everyone has a right to mail.

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