A little help from their friends - Page 2

Reporters say Delancey Street gets no money from the government. They're wrong.
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while the nonprofit continued to operate Delancey Street at the location.

Silbert wields far-reaching connections inside the Democratic Party and among moneyed philanthropists including Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen Dianne Feinstein and even Britain’s prime minister, Tony Blair. When Silbert announced plans to expand nationally, Delancey Street’s longtime supporter, Feinstein, vowed to secure a $1 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department to help in the effort, according to a 2002 LA Times profile of the organization.

The foundation is headquartered in a burnt umber stucco building on Embarcadero Street fringed with decorative iron gates and planters beneath French-style windows. Overlaying the property is a grid of sun-baked courtyards. Its design complies neatly with the principles of New Urbanism encouraged in the northeastern neighborhood with a walkable row of ground-floor businesses and densely packed dwellings. According to lore, it was built entirely by residents of Delancey Street.

If you didn’t know it was a treatment center, frankly, you’d mistake it for another of the innumerable yuppie enclaves that have sprouted in the neighborhood over the last two decades.

Five hundred residents live on site and conduct all of the program’s day-to-day operations as part of their commitment to an intensive two-year program. They provide labor for several Delancey Street businesses that buoy the nonprofit, from its famous Delancey Street Restaurant to a national moving and trucking service.

Leaseback agreements, such as the one entered into by Delancey Street to build its hub on the Embarcadero, are a common financing mechanism for low-income housing construction. But the forgivable loan from the city shows that a little sleuthing on the part of reporters would have gone a long way in confirming the extent of the nonprofit’s professed independence

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