Oakland Public Library

Pete Villaseñor moved to San Francisco from his home state of Texas almost 20 years ago. That’s well before the Bay’s current housing troubles began. But, moving to a new place can come with other difficulties, like homesickness. Villaseñor told our community storytelling project Hear Here how he found solace in a new city.

A One-Stop Shop for Social Services

For many, the Eastmont Town Center in East Oakland is the go-to place to apply for food stamps, get medical coverage, find childcare, and get job assistance. It was once the Eastmont Mall, but as income dropped and crime rose in the surrounding area, Planned Parenthood and the Oakland Public Library moved in, Mervyn’s became the Oakland Police Department, and JC Penney’s became the social service agency.

Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio project is KALW’s brand new storytelling adventure in Oakland and San Francisco. Our Hear Here producers are popping up all over those cities to hear your stories and put them on the air. They recently sprung up in the Golden Gate branch of the Oakland library to talk to local residents about work. They met a young man trying to get his start as a hip-hop performer.