More than 70 print, broadcast and online news organizations in San Francisco put aside professional competition on June 29 and coordinated on a full day of reporting on homelessness in the Bay Area. A broad array of outlets filled the news cycle with compelling stories, images, soundbites and shows about the plight of people facing homelessness, eviction, and hardship in paying their rent.
While the information technology boom has transformed the Bay Area into a strong hub for start-ups, the area has seen a significant increase in homelessness and housing affordability challenges. Sixty-four percent of the homeless population in San Francisco is unsheltered, compared to 31% nationally, and the rate of homelessness in San Francisco is 81 per 10,000, compared to 18 per 10,000 nationally.
Led by the San Francisco Chronical, the SF Homelessness Project aimed to promote civil discourse, hold elected officials accountable, and inspire change. Several news organizations in Seattle, WA, also supported and joined the project, and many Bay Area outlets decided to continue their coverage of homelessness throughout the week given the seriousness of the issue. The coalition of the news organizations that participated in the Project included Google News Lab, San Francisco Examiner, Medium, BuzzFeed News, Mother Jones, CityLab, Mashable and AJ+, among others.
The SF Homelessness Project also used social media to generate awareness about homelessness in the Bay Area. Journalists, photographers and affordable housing advocates used the hashtag #SFHomelessProject to share stories, images, data and charts. The project organizers urged people to call their local representatives and tell them to take practical actions to end homelessness. NLIHC actively engaged in The SF Homelessness Project’s social media efforts and helped to spread the word among its members and followers.
A Mother Jones article, published as a part of the project on June 30th, featured an interview with NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel, who emphasized that affordable housing programs, unlike other social safety net programs, are available on a first come, first served basis. "When public housing agencies open up a waiting list, you'll see long lines of people waiting just to add their name to the waiting list—and they're waiting literally decades," she said. The article cites NLIHC’s Affordable Housing Gap Analysis 2016 showing that nationally there are just 3 units of housing affordable and available for every 10 extremely low income households.
Read more about the SF Homelessness Project at: http://projects.sfchronicle.com/sf-homeless/
Read the Mother Jones article at: http://bit.ly/29dza4f