A vehicle home is parked in Bayview.

Photojournalist Documents Vehicle Dweller Communities While Living in RV

In the reporting series “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis,” photojournalist Yesica Prado documents life on four wheels in Berkeley and San Francisco. The project, in partnership with CatchLight Local, offers an intimate look at what it really means for home to be a vehicle in the Bay Area, whether it’s an RV with lots of space and utilities or a sedan with neither. But with housing out of reach, for many, a tent is the only other option. Prado, who was and is part of one of the vehicle dweller communities she documented, said that vehicle living comes with the daily task of avoiding parking or law enforcement and securing access to basic needs like hygiene, food and water. “People are definitely stuck in a cycle that you can’t escape.

Jelani Memory and Khalia Davis

Kids’ Play Calls Out Racism

Editor’s Note: A version of this article is published by Palabra, a news site covering the Latino community that is a project of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

When actor and director Khalia Davis was growing up in the 1990s, children’s entertainment rarely addressed racism. » Read more

Compass unhoused families

Service Providers Warn Budget Cuts Could Amplify Displacement Wave

San Francisco’s housing and homelessness service providers worry that City Hall’s budget decisions will leave them unprepared to face an expected wave of housing displacement. Interviews with staffers at a dozen nonprofits found that calls for assistance have increased by at least 30% and at some organizations by as much as 200% since March when the pandemic forced San Francisco residents to shelter in place amid a recession characterized by widespread income loss. Many providers are concerned expected city budget cuts will hobble their ability to provide vital aid like rental assistance, legal representation in eviction cases, food and emergency shelter, just when clients need help the most. One likely outcome of expected cutbacks they predicted: a worsening of the city’s already daunting homelessness crisis. “We’re all bracing ourselves for a huge growth in the numbers of those who are living on the streets, no question,” said Sara Shortt, director of public policy and community outreach at the Community Housing Partnership, a supportive housing nonprofit.

Lariza Dugan-Cuadra.

Federal Enforcement Actions Recall Authoritarian Crackdowns for Central Americans in U.S.

Almost two weeks ago, protesters in Portland, Ore., were detained by federal police and taken away in unmarked cars. Five days later, President Trump said that he would send federal agents to a dozen other liberal cities, including Oakland. For some of the Bay Area’s Central American residents, there are parallels between this moment and their own experiences with authoritarian governments in their countries of origin. Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, director at advocacy and social service nonprofit CARECEN SF, spoke to “Civic” about how the Bay Area’s Central American diaspora is reacting.  “One of the things I always ask myself, like, why doesn’t the American people rise up?

Major COVID-19 Surge in S.F.

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in San Francisco is rising rapidly and the city is facing “a major surge.” Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “In April, we experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases, which at its peak, saw 94 San Franciscans in the hospital. That number dropped to just 26 patients six weeks ago. Today, it’s 107.” 

Dr. Colfax said the growth rate of new infections is alarming. “It took us 38 days to go from 2000 to 3000 cases, it took us half as long to go from 3000 to 4000.

Tolbert gets dressed and does her curly hair for an afternoon work meeting. Tolbert says the RV “is a stepping stone because I want housing.” She is looking for a place costing no more than one-third of her income.

In the City, Off the Map: San Franciscans Struggle to Keep Their Mobile Residences

Part II of “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis.” Lee esta historia en español.

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Tantay Tolbert surveys the street for parking options from the driver’s seat of her recreational vehicle. On this morning, Tolbert received a 72-hour notice to move the vehicle or it would be towed. » Read more

Nelson rearranges the back of his car and recharges his phone. He sleeps on four stacked blankets in the back seat. Sometimes he folds down the seat to stretch his legs into the trunk. He has attached a solar panel to the roof to power essential electronics. “The key to the solar deal is storage,” Nelson said. “I have two batteries separate from the car, so I can run a television, a DVD player and charge up my phone. Now the next question is: How long can I run it for? I would be good for an hour or two. Anything crazy and heavy like a microwave or refrigerator is going to eat you up really quick.” But bad wiring inside his trunk has proven hazardous. One afternoon while Nelson was charging his devices, an electrical short melted the plastic of the cigarette lighter plug and filled his car with smoke. “I’m lucky I didn’t kill myself,” he said.

San Franciscans Struggle to Keep Their Mobile Residences

Read the story that accompanies this photo essay, “In the City, Off the Map: San Franciscans Struggle to Keep Their Mobile Residences,” which is part of the “Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis” project. Lee esta historia en español. » Read more

En medio del desorden, Nelson tiene lugares dedicados para almacenar lo esencial de todos los días. La guantera sirve como una mesita de noche que contiene cepillo de dientes, vasos, libreta de direcciones y condimentos para su próxima comida.

Los Franciscanos Luchan por Mantener sus Residencias Móviles

Lee la historia que acompaña a este ensayo fotográfico, “En la Ciudad, Fuera del Mapa: Los Franciscanos Luchan por Mantener sus Residencias Móviles,” que forma parte del proyecto “Conduciendo a Casa: Sobreviviendo la Crisis de la Vivienda” (“Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis”). » Read more

Working From Home May Drastically Change the Workplace Even After the Pandemic

Zoom meetings and other communications tools have made it possible for many white collar workers to remain employed as they work from home. 

Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom says what had once been uncommon, is now a necessity. “Before COVID, about 5% of working days were spent at home and that was done by about 15% of Americans, with an average of one in every three days. During COVID, 42% of us are now working from home so it’s an eight-fold increase.”

Courtesy of Nicholas Bloom. Of the remaining pre-COVID workers, Bloom found that nearly 33% are not employed and the remaining ones are essential workers and others who work directly with people or products. 

When the pandemic is over, Bloom predicts that fewer people will work five days a week in a central office. “We’ll go from very occasionally working from home to something like two to three days a week.” He predicts that will have a major impact on where people will live.