Mary Rees

How hard is it for homeless people to get and retain housing? The City of Albany and some local volunteers are seeing firsthand just how difficult it can be.

From the fall of 2013 through the spring of 2014, KALW’s “Crosscurrents” covered Albany’s official efforts to move people and campsites off the Albany Bulb, a former landfill in the East Bay. In return, the City promised to provide help to residents of the Bulb in finding apartments.

Michele Chelone

All week long, we've been playing this sound, and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

Trish Richman

There are roughly 6,400 homeless people in San Francisco. According to Laura Guzman, Director of the Mission Neighborhood Resource Center, one of the biggest challenges they face is finding public restrooms.

“I remember when we opened, the conversation was all about poop on the street,” says Guzman.  “We used to talk about ‘poop and needles,’ we call it. But it’s critical that the community understands – if there is no bathroom access, people are going to poop on the streets.”

Nowadays the conversation isn’t about just keeping the sidewalks clean, but how to provide more showers for those without homes. Now one of the cleanest forms of transportation is about to hit the streets.

Photo courtesy of flickr user fletcher oakes

A vibrant mural announces Happy Lot Farm and Garden to visitors and anyone passing by. A greenhouse stands in the middle of the lot, and an improvised chicken coop occupies one corner. The trees and raspberry beds that head farmer Andromeda Brooks and her volunteers planted here a few years ago are now bearing fruit. And anyone who chips in gets to take home some of the harvest.

Brooks started Happy Lot almost three years ago, as a community project to improve the neighborhood’s morale.

Shooting ranges are one of the few places you can go to shoot guns legally here in the Bay Area. KALW’s Mary Rees went to the Richmond Rod and Gun Club to meet some of the regulars.

JERRY REILLY: Perceptions of people who like guns are not correct. Gunowners are like your next door neighbors, your friends.

Click the player above to here the full story.

Full disclosure: one of the men you heard from in that piece, Michael Angell, is the father of KALW reporter Isabel Angell.

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