- No more room for the poor and the middle class – in San Francisco there to missing affordable housing (Inaglory)
San Francisco experienced a boom as companies from Silicon Valley attract people from all over the world. Downside: the living room has become extremely scarce and extremely expensive. This is especially the middle class that pulls increasingly
Del Seymour is dressed. He wears shirt and jacket and pleated trousers, around his neck is a checkered scarf. On his bald head is a hat. A group of around 20 young people glued to his lips.
Seymour’s tour guide in the Tenderloin. It is a notorious district in Downtown San Francisco: high crime rate, many homeless. The garbage accumulates at the roadside. It smells of urine and poverty. Seymour knows the roads well, he himself has lived for many years here, not resident without income. But now the 67-year-old full of energy the Taylor or Eddy Street runs along and shows the changes that just takes place here.
More than 10,000 newcomers have the tenderloin and the adjoining district mid-market in the past recorded years. There are employees of companies like Twitter, Spotify or Zendesk. The headquarters of Twitter is just ten minutes away.
Peaceful coexistence of rich and poor?
A crane protrudes into the air, Seymour tells of the giant shopping mall that arises here near the Turk Street. Not a single car parked on this stretch of road. The parking zone has been established, 2014. Earlier talking at this time of up to 100 people here in order to conduct their business, told the former drug dealer. Now there are maybe three or four:
There are new office buildings, restaurants and bars built. In Tenderloin get things moving – and at the same time remains Familiar how many poor families, the mentally ill, drug addicts and the homeless. Can there be a peaceful coexistence between well-paid, young techies and the very poor? It has – says Del Seymour. The Vietnam veteran sees itself as an advocate of lottery tickets, he is a member of more than a dozen organizations, where he is involved socially. He shows his group the St. Boniface Church on Golden Gate Avenue, are allowed to stay outside the hours of worship in the homeless. Two doors down is the St. Anthony Foundation. Here get every day 2,700 people a free hot lunch – completely privately funded. The Mayor and the City Council have failed, he scolds.
There must be a way to better manage homelessness, he complains. One had only to put his priorities differently. He alludes to the failure of the city to provide sufficient affordable housing – a problem that probably no other US city currently plaguing more than San Francisco. To him must be in the Tenderloin for all space be: the well-trained staff of the Silicon Valley and the poor, who are here for a long time at home:
“You see how changed the Tenderloin It. is an economic and cultural change that we need. the Tenderloin sees scrapped out. and we want to change. we want to turn it into an area that is not avoided by visitors to the city. “
Walking Tour – Tenderloin (Germany Radio / Nicole Markwald)
Sarah Gordon and Amber Kou make this morning with in the walking tour through the Tenderloin. For professional reasons – they both work for Health Corps, a nonprofit that cares about the welfare of young people. There is no employment, with which a lucrative business. Amber has studied on the East Coast in the US state of Virginia, is considered for this job to San Francisco – a sobering experience, as she says:
“I come from a normal middle-class family, am . grew up in a suburb of Washington DC this is the real life My parents said to me… if you want to do that, then you have to get along there anyway and it’s really hard I have friends who work in the financial industry or as a consultant and easy converted 1600 euros to spend on rent -. another world “
Sarah sees the current development of the city with yet another eye you grew up here and says so. serious housing as at the moment they have not experienced. Sometime soon, so she hopes that bubble had yet to burst.
Flats are getting more expensive
There is a problem with the also Erica Kisch constantly busy your office is a stone’s throw away from Union Square, at the stop of the famous cable car make daily long queues of waiting tourists.
Kisch passes Compass, an organization to be homeless families and at risk of homelessness Family care. Around 5000 families cared Compass annually. But in the meantime, told Kisch, also feel they and their employees how closely it has been on the rental market of the city.
“The housing market of San Francisco has always been expensive but now we are at a point where a one-bedroom apartment costs around 3,000 euros – that is not only for our care families too much, but also for our employees we are worried that we will find any more employees “
San Francisco has the image of a little dreamy hippie town with funny colorful row houses. tourists marvel at the Golden gate Bridge, they flock to the prison island of Alcatraz or wander through Haight-Ashbury, the center of the hippie movement . in the 60s that time grew in parallel in the neighboring Arbeitervietel Castro a large gay and lesbian community is no wonder that weddings of gay and lesbian couples have been approved in San Francisco for the first time in 2004 gave the then mayor Gavin Newsom permission to spend Heiratslizensen -.. a Premiere in the US
the city is changing -. but maybe this change is currently happening faster than it is common for large cities. The Silicon Valley is located some 30 minutes by car. Google, Facebook, Apple attract highly trained people from around the world – and pay its employees handsomely. For this purpose, the city fathers have several technology companies lured by tax breaks directly to San Francisco, including Twitter, Zendesk, Pinterest and Airbnb have their headquarters in the city center. The employees of these companies are usually young, predominantly male with good to high income.
Loses San Francisco’s charm?
And even if the techies in Silicon Valley towns like Palo Alto, Mountain View or Sunnyvale work, they want to live better in the big city with a thriving cultural, clubs, restaurants and leisure activities. Many city residents fear that San Francisco is losing its charm as Sarah Gordon:
“I do not want that in San Francisco a 0815-city is full of hip, expensive shops, the have no soul. the best thing about San Francisco is the diversity, the different communities that are in this small area at home. I’m afraid that will disappear. If a culture is first set, they will not come back. “
Even Erica Kisch, head of nonprofit organization Compass, shares this fear.
“these companies have settled here because it sure was good reason. It made sense. And I’d be the last person who would say the employees have no right to live in this city. But the reality looks it: it changed the housing market and many people suffer “
There are not only the clients of Kish who suffer – people at subsistence level, with addiction problems, poorly trained. . Meanwhile, it is true teachers, firefighters, health care workers. they earn too much to qualify for government-backed housing in question, which is also extremely scarce. But they do not earn enough to have a chance on the normal rental market.
Alexandra Bookless has headed until recently a restaurant. she and her husband are expecting their first child. When they were faced with the question, to a larger home in San Francisco to look or to move to another part of the country she opted for the latter and the so Bookless, this is the trend.
“more and more people are moving away and commute to the city. What’s annoying because you purely crossing a bridge to San Francisco and it was as always jammed. But for many there is no alternative. “
A city without SME
If San Francisco to a city with no middle class, without women, without children, without ethnic diversity? Where it is still affordable for the middle class? Mark Farrell is a member of the City Council, the City Council. He says:
“Good question, the middle class is in bad shape all over the country and this is one of our greatest problems:… Earners earn more and the number of people increases with low incomes The middle class which was once the heart of our society disintegrates and on. “
And that, Farrell, lying in San Francisco among others the influence of Silicon Valley, but not only. He admits a:
“As someone who grew up in San Francisco, make me the many changes nervous. At the same time San Francisco has always changed. As I grew up, there was in my neighborhood virtually no children, but many old pairs of Italian and Irish descent. Now live there very many young people from different backgrounds. It is there more exciting than ever. ! And that’s great, “
Nevertheless, says the 42-year-old, had to urgently do something, there is simply not enough affordable housing:
” We definitely have planned poorly for the increase in population, the San Francisco has seen in the past three or four years. “
Unlike other US cities to San Francisco, however, can not simply spread to the north, east and west sloshing water to the city limits. The only way out for the approximately 122 square kilometer urban area, ie an area that is only slightly larger than Kiel: build up high-rise buildings instead of the typical Einfamilienbauten. Restrictive zoning plans, environmental laws and sometimes simply a lack of will impede the construction of large lodging. For contractors it is more lucrative to build for higher earners than for government services. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city
12,000 is currently planning to build 12,000 units affordable housing
“We need everything we can get.” -. Which is far too little, finds . Sonja Trauss It has an unusual place for our conversation suggested:.. We’re sitting on an oversized sofa in the magnificent garden courtyard of the Palace Hotel This luxury hotel was opened in 1909, guests take their morning coffee one to play the piano, the everyday of Trauss’ is anything but . as glamorous the 34-year-old organization San Francisco Bay Area renters’ Federation has established, in short. SFBarf she lives on donations to be full-time to engage in construction projects, regularly visit and her fellow public meetings of the city Council, took the floor , endorse in principle any building project – as long as more apartments are built, not only in San Francisco, but in the entire area, in the so-called Bay area:
“Everything should be supported, also buildings that you do not like because they are ugly, on low-wage or high earners. We need everything we can get, “
late last year went SFBarf one step further. The association sued the town Lafayette northeast of San Francisco. Previously, a contractor had abandoned his plan for 315 apartments for people middle-income. Local residents had complained that rent would “spoil” the area. As the contractor instead suggested 44 detached houses with dog park and parking for the same land, the project by the City Council of Lafayette was adopted unanimously. In its complaint, it goes for Trauss aim is to set an example. Lafayette embodies in her eyes all the cities in the Bay Area that authorize enough new buildings and skyscrapers, while want something changes, but please elsewhere.
“In San Francisco, it’s almost as that goes for any newcomers a long-time resident. And Rich replace any rich, even if some do not want to admit it. People with money get what they want and those who have little, are the victims. “
arms residents are to be made fit for the digital economy
One and a half hours has Del Seymour his group through the Tenderloin District out. passing a food bank, which is used daily by 11,000 victims. He has maintenance done at the newly opened Tenderloin Museum and Hall of worn Cadillac hotels shown once a young Cassius Clay trained in the gym before him into a heavyweight champion and Muhammad Ali was. and Seymour has reported technology companies like Zendesk, Yammer or Spotify, engaged in the Tenderloin. It does not look on our roads as on Skid Row, he says, alluding to the pitiable homeless settlement in the heart of Los Angeles:
“this is only possible when money is reingesteckt. If investing here with us, the streets, the crime rate will remain clean and low. “
Seymour wants more from Silicon Valley. He has the organization “Code Tenderloin” established to make the poor residents of the Tenderloin fit for the digital economy. In an evening course interested first programming knowledge can acquire.
“The only difference between the fair young woman with Twitter and the girl is here with dreadlocks that blonde young woman can program. And we are trying to create a level playing field. “
The laptop for his quote is from an anonymous donor, the trainers work for nothing. “Code Tenderloin” also provides training for job interviews to or help writing a resume Seymour welcomed the changes in his district, only one thing is important to him.
“We can explore the city with chrome and glass change, with new faces -. but it may not nobody sold “
Perhaps that is even possible. Maybe even the homeless in five years parts of Eddy Street will populate and pass young Technies in her lunch break on the way to their choice at the Soup Kitchen Restaurant. But perhaps the most cut-throat competition has already begun.