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Keeping tabs on evicted San Franciscans

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Chronicling the San Francisco diaspora, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project shows where San Franciscans flee when they face cold reality of evictions. (Courtesy Anti-Eviction Mapping Project)


An eviction in San Francisco often means an eviction from San Francisco.

A new map released last week by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, using data from the Eviction Defense Collaborative, illustrates to which cities those evicted in San Francisco fled.

We all know the housing crisis is bad. We all know evictions are bad. And we all know San Franciscans are oft displaced throughout the Bay Area. But it’s an entirely different thing to actually see the numbers.

The collaborative offers a bevy of legal services to San Franciscans facing eviction. The first chilling number provided is 6,720 — the number of people the collaborative served in 2015.

Holy hell, that’s a lot of people — not households — facing eviction.

To see where people ended up, however, we must travel back in time to ye olde 2012, during the birth of the eviction crisis. The collaborative interviewed about 500 of its clients to get a sample of where those evicted finally settled years later.

Of those 500 clients, 153 remained in their homes, 320 remained in good ol’ Ess Eff and 165 left The City. Also, 14 people became homeless post-eviction, and two people passed away.

Oakland absorbed 17 evicted clients of the collaborative, Daly City took in 10 and 7 moved to Richmond.

Many evicted in San Francisco are doing a “city shuffle” of sorts and landed in the Bayview, Ingleside and Tenderloin neighborhoods.

Evicted households moved as far as Davis, Fairfield, Vallejo, Livermore and Woodland. Some 35 evicted San Franciscans relocated across the country.

Above is an embedded version of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s map.

The severity of evictions sure has changed. Looking back at 2012, we all thought the Ellis Act was public enemy No. 1. Flash forward to 2016, and people straight-out suspect arsonists of burning down Mission homes to evict tenants.

Chirag Bhakta, a San Francisco native who works at the Mission SRO Collaborative, told On Guard, “The post-2012 side of the housing crisis has seen an immense increase in the number of evictions filed in the Mission District.”

The Mission hosted the lion’s share of San Francisco evictions, according to the collaborative’s data.

Chirag works in the Mission, but he’s from the Tenderloin. Or as he put it, “the crack smoke-filled air of the TL raised me.”

Funnily enough, we had friends in common. He went to Galileo High School, Class of ’05; I’m alumni of Wallenberg High School and San Francisco School of the Arts, Class of ’04.

He sees San Franciscans evicted through his work at the collaborative all the time.

“We’ve heard of people leaving San Francisco, where they’ve established deep community roots, and move to places like Richmond, Hayward, even as far out as Tracy,” he said.

And as for the San Francisco we once knew?

“All we have left is nostalgia, for the most part,” he said.

* * *

Noted local LGBT activist Cleve Jones apparently brought Harvey Milk’s legendary red and white bullhorn out of retirement. The bullhorn played itself in the just-shot ABC miniseries about the ’70s and ’80s gay rights movement, “When We Rise.”

Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historical Society (San Francisco)

Photo: Courtesy GLBT Historical Society (San Francisco)

Milk was given the bullhorn by Allan Baird of the Teamsters union after Milk supported their 1970s Coors Beer boycott. Jones used it 20 years after Milk’s death, in his own protests for the LGBT movement. It was finally laid to rest at the GLBT History Museum, on 18th and Castro streets.

As Jones wrote in a Facebook post on July 2, “That bullhorn has seen some action.”

* * *

There were many lessons to take away from the SF Homeless Project, that massive day of homeless crisis news coverage from more than 70 media organizations across San Francisco.

But one lesson I hope we all learned is perhaps an obvious one: People without homes are still people.

Strike up a conversation. You never know what interesting takes on The City you’ll hear.

Case in point: A few weeks ago, I was riding a 33-Stanyan home from a Mission political event. By chance, two other attendees, supervisor-hopeful Dean Preston and political organizer Dyan Ruiz, were on the bus, too.

As we chatted about local politics, a fellow who has probably seen better days — wearing an eye patch and who had his push cart of belongings with him on the bus — stared at me keenly with his one eye. He stared for about five minutes straight.

So I said, “Hello.” He replied sharply, “Hey! Aren’t you that guy who writes ‘On Guard?’”

I said yes and introduced myself. His name is Alex, and we reminisced on the changing nature of various newspapers in San Francisco. He recalled the long-ago days (of the 1990s) when the Examiner was The City’s afternoon paper.

I thanked him for reading, to which he replied, “Well, ya know, it’s free!”

Hell’s bells. At least he was keepin’ it real.

On Guard prints the news and raises hell. Email him at joe@sfexaminer.com.

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  • De Blo

    Virtually 100% of evictions occur when A) a homeowner is moving into his home after temporarily renting it out, B) a criminal tenant is being evicted, or C) a home is being renovated and neighborhood blight reduced. Eviction is a wonderful and positive development because it is helping a neighborhood improve and replacing a deadbeat tenant with a better one. We need to encourage far more evictions if we are to reach our goal of a majority of homes being owner-occupied.

  • jimbolandjots

    Tell that to the many renters who pay their rent on time, are good tenants, work with the landlord to maintain the unit, and who are still evicted – when it is convenient for some profiteering speculator to make a ton of money. Most renters are good tenants who cannot afford their own place and not all landlords are evil bastards.

  • Ralph Smith

    Boston Properties has set up shop in one of the Embarcadero Center buildings. What is happening to the Mission District, it happened to East Boston which was the “Mission District of Boston”.

    “East Boston has long provided a foothold for the latest immigrants with Irish, Russian Jews and then Italians alternating as the predominant group. From the 1990s into the early millennium, Latin American immigrants settled in East Boston. In recent years, East Boston has become home to a wave of young professionals seeking residence in Boston in newly renovated condominiums along Jeffries Point, Maverick Square, and the Eagle Hill waterfront. Jeffries Point specifically has become one of the most desirable neighborhoods, due to its location to the harbor, marinas, and Piers Park.” (Wikipedia).

  • De Blo

    Renting is, by definition, temporary (normally for the life of a 1 year lease that can then be ended with 30 days notice). All renters know that they are borrowing the use of another person’s home (that is why it is called renting not owning). The general rule of thumb that we all learned in kindergarten, that you should buy a home if you plan to live in a metropolitan area for at least 3 years is as true today as it ever was.