Some of the students at the San Francisco International High School have only been in the country for a short time, but they are already tackling difficult topics that transcend borders. Each student has selected a “Change maker,” someone who, in their eyes, is solving the problems these students care about most. In this ongoing series, the students first write about themselves and why they selected their change maker. The profiles of their heroes will follow.
As rent and real estate prices increase throughout the Bay Area, living here is becoming increasingly difficult. More than half of San Francisco’s homeless population cited an inability to afford rent as the primary reason they were homeless in 2013. The latest statistics from the SF Rent Board show that overall evictions have risen 13 percent from last year, and the number of Ellis Act evictions has nearly doubled. Here are the stories of several students studying eviction and high rents for their change maker projects.
My name is Yennifer. I am from Honduras. I have lived in the United States for ten months. I am 15 years old.
Homelessness and eviction are important to me because in my country, I have seen many people starving and sleeping on the street with great thirst. For about six months or more, I lived with my mom who sometimes did not have money working in the clothing factories. She did not always have money to pay for diapers for my younger sister. That made me very sad and very sorry for the people living in the street. I know that in one instant one can lose everything.
My name is Gonzalo. I am from Guatemala. I am 16 years old.
My group and I are studying the issue of expensive rent and evictions in San Francisco.
This problem is very important for me because in my opinion it is unfair that many people live in the street or get evicted and they can’t have a healthy place to live with their family. This is important in my life because I am an immigrant and many immigrants pay a lot of rent for a small amount of space and it is difficult to pay so much to live in a small place.
I want everybody in this world can have a place to live. I want everybody to be equal, and not have some rich and the other people poor. In my perfect world everybody will have a home – not a big home but one that they can live in happily and never feel bad about the place.
My name is Winnie. I am from China. I am 16 years old. One thing I like is to sing songs that makes me unique.
This problem is important to me because when I immigrated to United States we had no money to rent a house. My mother and I came to United States. My mother is single mother. My brother, because he is over age, cannot come to the United States. So my mother is the only person to earn money to raise me. My mother has a small wage, but the house is very expensive, so we don’t have more money to pay rent.
In my perfect world, everybody have a house. If some people have no house, other people rent to them for cheap. The rich people will rent very cheap houses to poor people.
I wonder how people change this problem and what do they do?
I wonder when the landlord forces you to move, so what do you do next?