Gentrification: Displacement, Eviction, and the San Francisco Housing Crisis.

Gentrification Facebook BannerSan Francisco Human Rights Commission Equity Advisory Committee and The Art Gallery present Gentrification: Displacement, Eviction, and the San Francisco Housing Crisis. This project aims use both traditional research and storytelling to help shape popular understanding of the incredibly complex problem of Gentrification .

San Francisco’s lack of affordable housing for low and middle income residents is the result of various factors, including over-speculation by developers and buyers, a dearth of housing units in the city, and insufficient enforcement of existing laws intended to protect tenants. People of color, the elderly, people with disabilities, those with lower incomes, and members of the queer community are especially vulnerable to displacement due to rising housing costs, resulting in a decrease in San Francisco’s cultural diversity. The goal of this project is to help all residents to better understand and address the structural forces that underlie San Francisco’s housing crisis.

Exhibition

January 29 – February 19, 2015. Reception: Thursday, January 29, 5-8pm

Activities Related

Screening and Discussion.  Thursday February 12 6–8PM

‘Mi Casa No Es Su Casa’ Directed by Avery Yu and Haley Jensen. 25 mins.

The Equity Advisory Committee is a citizen’s advisory committee for the Human Rights Commission of San Francisco. The intention of the Equity Advisory Committee is to connect  the Human Rights Commission with community involvement and to provide the commission with in-depth study and exploration of issues. The Equity Advisory Committee was designed to tackle a multitude of issues including, but not limited to: human trafficking, homelessness, environmental and criminal justice, immigration, healthcare, senior quality of life, youth and education, housing access, workforce diversity and equality of opportunity. When the time came to plan our work for the year, our sub-committee chose to explore housing displacement and an increasing lack of affordability in our city. Our work commenced amidst a wave of evictions and other forms of displacement that continues  to wash over the region. Rising housing costs and a rapidly changing landscape have affected  so many San Franciscans in some way, but has disproportionately impacted vulnerable communities in rather significant ways. This issue of housing and affordability has targeted those who have historically dealt with discrimination and faced barriers to civil and human rights. We set out to connect the displacement of residents, and the consequent loss of cultural and socioeconomic diversity, as a human rights concern.

San Francisco’s lack of housing that is affordable to low- and middle-income residents is the result of various factors, including over-speculation by developers and buyers, a dearth of housing units in the city, and insufficient enforcement of existing laws intended to protect tenants. People of color, the elderly, people with disabilities, those with lower incomes, and members of the queer community are especially vulnerable to displacement due to rising housing costs, resulting in a decrease in San Francisco’s cultural diversity. Because our group is one of many examining the current housing crisis in San Francisco, it was decided to allow our work to be focused on the voices of people living in San Francisco. Our subcommittee used storytelling to help shape popular understanding of an incredibly
complex problem. Our goal was to have our efforts help all residents better understand and address the structural forces that underlie SF’s housing crisis.

Our process started with exploring the current work being done to create conversation and combat displacement in San Francisco. Because of the good work of so many people, our group participated in the Anti-Displacement Coalition’s City-Wide tenant convention, where tenants from all over the city got to speak and collectively decide on a piece of legislation to try and push forward. Also, our subcommittee tabled at various events throughout the city, recruiting people to be interviewed and also sharing information about tenant’s rights, as a way to create more awareness. After our efforts in the community, we started our interviews with those who agreed to participate. We spoke with those who were being evicted, those who already had to move out of the city, those who had issues of displacement multiple times, a homeowner, a tech worker, a musician, a teacher; each giving a very different

After interviewing and photographing 10 people in San Francisco, we were able to understand just how complex the housing issue is. Each story was unique and rich, and while not a significant sample, the stories of the people willing to speak to us showed us just how personal housing and the idea of home can be. While some people are profiting off of San Francisco’s housing market, others are losing their homes, their community, and their way of life. Our process allowed us to see a very personal story when looking at another statistic of eviction and displacement.

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