This housing crisis isn’t going to solve itself.
While I do keep hammering the head on the nail, everyone from Y Combinator’s Sam Altman to Peter Thiel to anti-eviction activists and non-profits working with low-income communities and the homeless are putting housing issues as a top concern for Silicon Valley and San Francisco. More than half of the country’s 30 most expensive rental markets are San Francisco Bay Area cities.
The factors going into this are complex. They involve everything from population growth and incredible demand from highly-paid tech workers to urban containment regulations enacted in the 1970s to the loss of federal and state support for affordable housing development. I could go on and on (which I did).
AOL and TechCrunch commissioned a short documentary from Peter Savodnik’s Stateless Media after readers responded overwhelmingly to some the coverage we’ve been doing. Called “You Can’t Go Home Again,” the short film brings to life a lot of the real people who are being affected and displaced by the current housing shortage.
While I’ve met people like Erin McElroy, who is one of the key organizers behind the Google bus protests and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, you haven’t. Likewise, there are engineers in the film like Henry Bryant, who works at Cozy, a startup looking to simplify rental payments and tenant screenings on-line.
And as filmmaker Peter Savodnik writes, “All our characters were sympathetic; all of them wanted good or reasonable things. But none of them really understood the other people in the movie, not because they didn’t want to but because, like everyone, they were busy or unaware.”
Indeed, many of the activists I’ve met are passionate and sincere. (They’re people too!)
Anyway, the whole issue is so serious that the San Francisco Planning Department even released its own video last week. They also wanted to try and explain how dire the situation is an easily digestible way for the public.
These two videos actually pair very well together. Stateless’ film gives a visceral feeling of how people from vastly different backgrounds see the crisis we’re in and the video below explains some of the policies that got us here.