San Francisco is the city of the Summer of Love – a place famous for peace rallies and liberal politics. So, a newcomer to the Bay Area may well feel confused at the number of forts and military bunkers clustered around the Golden Gate.
Until recently, large parcels of land in San Francisco and northward, in the Marin Headlands, belonged to the army — which was charged with protecting what was then the west coast’s most important port.
Roger Boyvey lives in a three-story house he built himself. It contains a complete kitchen, a view room, computer room, living room, master bedroom, guest bedroom, bathrooms adorned with stained glass, and a cat named Leo. In his neighborhood, there are just thirteen other houses like his. In this installment of our series of place profiles, Mary Rees visits Boyvey at his home at the Berkeley Marina.
Last fall, I went to Fifth and King Streets in San Francisco, just under the on-ramp to I-280. A group of tents inhabited the space then. The ground around the tents was swept, and bicycles stood in neat lines. Residents, such as Jessica Prater, knew one another and felt safe there.
If you really want to know how our local economy is doing, look no further than the nearest homeless shelter. Former Supervisor Bevan Dufty oversees homelessness in the city, and he says these days, San Francisco’s roughly 1,150 beds are nearly full each night. Advocates say there’s been a sharp increase in homeless seniors, especially women. It was rare to see this population on the streets a few decades ago, but now service providers say it seems to be the norm.
As California sloshes through its rainy season, homeless people around the Bay Area are looking for places to stay dry. In San Francisco, the spaces under freeways are popular, and groups of homeless people sometimes band together for their mutual protection. Still, as you might expect, living on the streets isn’t safe or easy.