I must start off by saying I laughed when I heard that Alameda County agreed to lease the City of Oakland use of the Old North County Jail for $1.00 a year. Would the officials who had this idea stay in North County? Exactly how it is that this is an option just because someone else feels like, “well it’s better than where you are now so this is what I have to offer you, take it or leave it”?
All throughout my incarceration, I have never called my cell a home. Moreover, I consider the bars that cage me disrespectful, even to animals. So, I think Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf let down some very vulnerable people when she told the San Francisco Chronicle that a vacant jail is an “obvious” option for a homeless shelter.
When the problem of homelessness was in its infancy and jails were expanding to greet new “clients” each day, the issue concerning the growing number of unsheltered people on the street was practically invisible. Years later, two wars overseas, and a financial meltdown created The Great Recession.
As the homelessness crisis worsens, cities all over the U.S. are desperately trying to come up with solutions. California, for example, is in a frenzy to build new homeless shelters that will fit thousands of new shelter beds.
Fine art photographer Kirti Bassendine was appalled when friends returning to England from their visit to San Francisco posted vitriolic sentiments about the SF’s “homeless problem” to their social media page; voicing their disgust with the trash, needles, feces, and people on the streets, they warned others not to visit.
Mental illness is often cited as one of the driving factors behind the growing homeless population in cities such as Berkeley and Oakland. A lack of resources for the mentally ill has led many people to the streets.
The project that is documenting the items—and identities—that are lost in encampment sweeps.
The homeless property yard at the San Francisco Department of Public Works saw an unusually busy Saturday afternoon on June 22—more activity than the workers anticipated.