In 1995, Sally Hindman wanted to start a home- less advocacy newspaper in the East Bay. Street Sheet already existed in San Francisco, and she saw an opportunity in Berkeley and Oakland. She quickly enlisted Terry Messman to be the founding editor and together, they got to work.
When Travis moved to San Francisco in 2011, he was 21 years old and had $174 in his pocket. His first job was tossing salads at a restaurant on 2nd and Market. But soon, his career in the service industry would take off. His next job was at Quince, a fine dining restaurant that now has three Michelin stars.
When one lives outdoors, and weather conditions are less than favorable, one sometimes wakes up freezing and soaking wet—not to mention flat broke. Under such circumstances, you can’t imagine the feeling of grati- tude that would overwhelm me as I succeeded in scraping up 63 cents for a senior cup of coffee at a Mac- Donald’s. At the store most frequented, they wouldn’t let us in if we didn’t have coffee change.
One of the many unexpected challenges that arose during my transition from homelessness to indoor living stemmed from the fact that I had simply gotten used to living outdoors. This caused many of the practices that worked for me when I was homeless to be carried over into the context of indoor living.
Big Pink was finished 23 years before the civil war began in America. Big Pink was made from local cypress trees, impervious to the rot and insidious decay that time brings to most things, the living, the dead, and all those things in between and beyond.
Walking down Franklin Street in Downtown Oakland you’ll see a larger than life mural of a man in a baseball cap. With gentle eyes and a wide smile, he looks east over the city, watching over the people passing by. Small businesses line Franklin Street to the left and right. Below the mural is a parking lot, and shiny office buildings tower above. In between lies the portrait of Derrick Hayes, a 59-year-old homeless resident of Oakland who has been selling Street Spirit for almost 20 years.
Science has now proven that trauma can be passed down intergenerationally; that rats whose mothers were exposed to stressors like water can epigenetically inherit a special fear of water. Before we had this science, nearly every culture on Earth had ghost stories.
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.
Jorge Peña walked his tiny dog, Chiquita, around the inside perimeter of 711 71st Avenue in Oakland, behind the RVs parked neatly facing each other, stopping to say hello to his neighbor sitting in the shade. He is one of the first residents of Oakland’s new, invite-only “safe RV lot” next to Coliseum BART, and he calls it a “godsend.”