The Pain of Immigration and Homelessness in San Francisco

The thought of it all was so amazing that it sent chills down my spine. America: land of plenty, a second chance, heaven on Earth. A place only seen on TV. Just the thought of visiting makes one do the unbelievable just to get there. Some use marvelous pictures of America as screensavers on their phones, and laptops, and as wallpaper and art  to decorate their homes. This makes most want to live in a fast-lane-life and fantasy world and try to do anything to get to America.


Home: Robin Lee

Name: Robin Lee, 35 Date: 8 May 2021 Place: Dore Street Without a home: Off and mostly on since she was 18 

“I have been on the streets  on and off since I was 18,  more on than off so well  over 10 years. I started out in  Sonoma County where I grew  up with my mom. We lived  in a home. I choose to come  outside and be a rebellious  18-year-old.” 

“(Hardest thing),


Seeking Greener Pastures, Only to Find Homelessness in the Bay Area

My name is Samel Leparan Ntiwuas. I live just down the street from the house where I grew up.

I grew up in Oakland and San Francisco. My folks succeeded in their own ways, at one point owning a home, which was once considered the very foundation of financial stability. Then, when life chose to give me a bitter test, I joined the surging number of unsheltered immigrant people who spill out around freeways,


Home — James Jefferson

Name: James Jefferson

Age: 39

Date: June 17, 2021

Place: Florida and Treat streets

Homeless: 12 to 13 years

“Does a tent afford privacy? I can do whatever I want within the four walls, but in this situation it feels like you’re an endangered species. Like you’re being hunted really slowly and silently. You never know when they’re going to come and uproot you.


Surviving Trafficking

Inside of California’s homelessness crisis, another crisis gets little attention: sex trafficking. In some cases, experiences of sex trafficking push people into homelessness. In other cases, being homeless makes them more vulnerable to sex trafficking. It can be a matter of life and death. 

Tonya is a woman in her 50s who lives in a tent in Sacramento. She shared her story of sex trafficking in her teens to bring awareness to an issue that is too often ignored because its victims are often already part of overlooked communities.


How Muni Saved My Life

The author originally told this story before an audience in San Francisco as part of an evening of performance and storytelling sponsored by Tipping Point Community on November 18, 2021 at Manny’s, 3092 16th St. San Francisco. This story has been adapted and edited for your reading pleasure, and hopefully, inspiration.

I think of the places I’ve slept in in my life – buses, trains,


I Am A Walking Miracle

It was a Friday morning, January 2020, when I woke up with a bad stomach and couldn’t keep down food. I was driven by my wife to get OTC stomach drugs, but the dispensing pharmacist suggested we take a blood sugar test. We drove to the nearby clinic and, upon administering the test, the doctors panicked. My sugars were so high the machine literally just indicated “High” as they were off the scale. They got a drip running to rehydrate me,


Immigration and Homelessness

Only those affected by immigration and homelessness can understand what it is like. Seeking greener pastures in an attempt to survive has led to both positive and negative outcomes. Difficulties in life have led low-income African families to take more risks and seek greener pastures in an attempt to survive. My case was no different—times were too difficult to bear. I tried so many other things to make a living and support my mother, but economic challenges and high taxation rates made it impossible for me.


How Housing Choice Vouchers Saved My Family

In 2011, I was homeless and addicted to methamphetamines. That year, I found out that my girlfriend of 10 years, Amy, was pregnant with our son, Marley. We went to Jelani House, a rehabilitation program, to try to prepare for our son’s arrival. But when we showed up, the shelter wouldn’t let me bring my service dog inside. Instead, I had to stay on the street and try to get clean alone while taking care of our dogs,


I Need My Own

A cop with an evil grin points a gun as bodies and tents go flying, and a figure in the foreground stares at their phone looking distressed.

I arrived in San Francisco from Anchorage, Alaska on Feb. 20, 2008. I stayed with the father of my children and my two sons. We stayed in my mother-in-law’s apartment in the Alemany projects. It was there I conceived my second son. I drank and did drugs during this time, while working for my brothers-in-law and my kids’ father through In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS). I went to jail due to domestic violence incidents between me and my partner at the time,