Due to the pandemic, many people have lost their jobs and their homes, leading many families into unsheltered homelessness. Organizers with the Coalition on Homelessness (COH) have been reaching out to vehicularly housed folks who live on Winston Street and Lake Merced Boulevard next to San Francisco State University, aiming to provide support and permanent solutions to people living in RVs. Vehicularly housed residents told the COH that they face several daily challenges, including a lack of access to drinking water,
As I look out the window sill here,
I see birds circling high above the ground.
Free, floating as high as he wants,
To be ever so gently,
Free, free, free.
Now if I could trade places with that bird that soars,
Never to be trapped inside these doors,
I’d fly high and free to unknown places,
Above treetops and snow-capped places,
Disease does not care about class divisions or housing status. If you leave anybody vulnerable to COVID-19, you increase your whole city’s vulnerability to COVID-19. When you increase access to stable, humane housing, you increase the health of your city. When you support and prioritize the health of your friends and community members who are experiencing homelessness, you support and prioritize the health of your healers in the hospitals and the health of those organizing in the community.
This is the most difficult piece I have ever had to write on the issue of homelessness and supportive housing. Like all of you, I tend to be very hesitant about bureaucratic hurdles that keep people from being able to access housing from homelessness, and through this, I still will be in the vast majority of circumstances.
However, the resurgence of COVID-19 due to the delta variant and widespread vaccine refusal has forced my hand,
Editor’s note — we ran the first part of this piece in March of 2020, with the intention of running Part 2 in April. By April we were temporarily out of print as we grappled with how to continue the Street Sheet program safely while COVID raged in our communities. We’re so happy to be back in print twice a month, and to finally share Tariq’s story with our readers. Here is the full story:
I’m not sure where to begin and end this short tale about my homelessness.