housing in san francisco

December 21st, 2014 by caitlyn

I’m going to interrupt farm news and winter updates with a personal announcement here: after some severe leaks in this past storm that lead to partial ceiling collapse, my housing situation has recently and suddenly become unstable. In maybe the toughest housing climate San Francisco has ever seen, I am looking for a new place to live.

At first I debated posting this here, unsure of the relevance of this personal situation to the farm’s audience. But after some thought, and considering the original aims and questions of Little City Gardens, I realize that it couldn’t possibly be more relevant. Can farming be financially viable in San Francisco? Can anyone make a living, or contribute to a living, from this work in this city? Can a working farm be a permanent, dynamic fixture in the city? My personal situation here sheds light on the intensely precarious context within which these questions are asked — the ongoing housing crisis and incredibly high cost of living in San Francisco.

While I’m fortunate that my case doesn’t involve all-too-common eviction, or the often abused Ellis Act, I am nevertheless, like too many of my neighbors, finding myself suddenly thrust into the skyrocketing and inaccessible rental market, feeling scared, unequipped, and vulnerable. My work as a very modestly paid farmer, artist, and active community member suddenly has much less recognizable value when placed into the realm of the housing market. This reality, in the context of this urban farm project and ongoing dialogue, feels relevant and important to document here.

My partner (a public school teacher here in SF) and I are spreading the word far and wide in hopes of finding something that hasn’t appeared on the heartbreaking Craigslist scene. While we are aware of the tenants’ rights that are on our side in this situation, and have met with the invaluable SF Tenants Union, the landlord hostility we’ve been met with, along with the slow and unclear repair timeline, renders this situation shaky and unsafe. San Franciscans, if you know of an apartment, a cottage, or an in-law unit that needs two creative, quiet, hard working, modestly living people to warm it up, please do be in touch. We’re looking and staying hopeful.

Readers from afar, see more articles here and here for further reading about San Francisco’s housing climate, its far reaching implications, and some of the ongoing work surrounding it.

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UPDATE: We’ve moved and feel fortunate to be able to hang on in the city a bit longer. Thank you all for the encouragement and suggestions.

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