Money Tree Mission District SF

This public art piece is long gone. It was at the corner of 15th and Van Ness for a long time, sitting inside an empty lot.

It was around the corner from where I used to live in the Mission District. It had been up way before the recent surge of issues regarding the inhabitants of San Francisco. I’m glad I got to photograph it before it went away for good.

Now they are building something–probably condos. Not that there isn’t anything wrong with making new housing–it was an empty lot–but what demographic will be able to afford them? It’s not easy to forget the poor when you are in San Francisco as there are many people living on the street there. But do you ever wonder if they get enough food? Food with nutrition?

There are meal programs in the city. Some people say that’s why we have so many homeless in San Francisco because of the great services. I think it’s a little more complicated than that. Many people living on the street are battling addiction and mental health issues.

It’s hard to make good decisions if you don’t feel good and you can’t feel good if you don’t have enough nourishing foods.

I lived on a $4-5 a day food budget for 2 weeks a few years ago. If you want to read about my experiences and what I ate you can click here. It wasn’t so bad–but I had a home to cook out of and a grounded life in which to make good decisions.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

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2 thoughts on “Money Tree Mission District SF

  1. The poor people who eat at St. Anthony’s and Glide and the other soup kitchens have diverse backgrounds. Some of them are transient, but a lot of them have been living in San Francisco for decades. People like San Francisco. It’s a fun place. A lot of people make it there home. But it’s so damn expensive. You don’t have a lot of flexibility once you’ve been there for a decade and your wages have stayed basically the same. You can’t leave your rent controlled apartment or find new roommates. Nothing is any longer in your price range. You eat free meals because you want to go see a movie once in a while. People get an apartment and then decades later they can’t leave because there is no place they could afford… That’s one scenario. There are many. A lot of people getting those free meals aren’t homeless. As for those who are homeless, one of the best books I’ve read on the subject is Hobos, Hustlers and Backsliders, homeless in San Francisco. It is an ethnography of homeless men. From my perspective San Francisco hasn’t changed much. More people want to live there than can. It has always been too expensive and the people who end up staying are either 1) locked-in by rent control 2) benefactors of a rich relative that helped them buy a house 3) holders of a really good paying job or 4) worn down and eventually leave because they are tired of their rent-controlled handcuffs. Living in San Francisco is for poets and millionaires. Okay, well that’s simplistic, but I like the way it sounds.

  2. San Francisco is changing. Sure there has always been the wealthy and the poor. The rich doctors or lawyers or what have you and the poets. But now less and less can the poets afford to be there. It used to be in the 90’s or 00’s it was still possible. I read the latest average price on a 1 bedroom is $3,200. It will be interesting to see how this latest wave plays out. I think we will see companies that are looking for lower wage employees like service positions or even teachers not afford to live there. Many small businesses and non-profits are loosing their leases.

    It’s good to point out that not just homeless visit the soup kitchens. A society should always have an option for people who are very poor. That book looks interesting.

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