I am able to smell the harmonious ingredients that make up my mother’s chilaquiles with frijoles and eggs as I wake up in the morning with sunlight beaming through the blinds. With my dog by my side and the coziness of my bed covered in warm and homey blankets, I am able to sleep peacefully throughout the night. I can foresee the thrilling Friday game nights when my boisterous family competes for money during lotería and cinco loco. Every year, my family and I create new memories in my home, which functions as our time machine. I can rejoice in vivid memories from the past.
I’ve been privileged to have financially secure parents who have the ability to provide my brother and I with a home filled with an abundance of memories. Some families do not have access to a household that serves as a time machine due to the housing crisis in California. With skyrocketing rents, a dearth of affordable housing, and residents being evicted from their homes, the Bay Area housing crisis continues to be a concern. I frequently wonder why it is so expensive to live in a warm and secure shelter. These outrageous costs leave an enormous impact on thousands of people’s lives, who are ultimately left unhoused.
As my family drives through the streets of San Francisco, the city is brimming with unhoused individuals. Living in the Bay Area or even California is a privilege, when it should truly be a basic right that should be offered to all. Financially struggling people are disproportionately vulnerable to the housing crisis, leaving them with the possibility of being evicted from a safe residence and left to fend for themselves.
During my morning walks with my dog, Curry, I’ve seen more unhoused people in my neighborhood in Pacifica. It’s appalling to see that the streets I walk in everyday are not as safe for others as they are for me. Others are forced to live on the streets without a sense of safety, comfort, or assurance that everything will be better the next day. In just the past year, I’ve seen an increase of unhoused people on my regular walks by the beach with my family. I had never seen unhoused people in my town before, yet everyday I now see someone living by the grocery store I regularly shop at and individuals living in tents on my typical drive to school.
As I step outside of my home, I am constantly bombarded by an abundance of “For Sale” signs in my neighborhood. Every time I see an abandoned home, I ponder if the family that lived there left because they couldn’t afford to live in my city. The serene landscape of my city that is filled with warm and golden sand and the rippling surfaces of the sea isn’t able to be appreciated because of deplorable housing prices that constantly force people out. It’s becoming apparent that the area I live in has transformed from a place of peace and beauty to one with economic disparities.