The arts community was hit hard by a fire in a converted Oakland artist live-work space known as the Ghost Ship that killed 24 on Friday, and some in the Mission have mobilized to give money, a couch to sleep on and other support to those affected.
Gray Area, a theater and arts and education space, wrote online that some of the affected had worked at the nonprofit.
In reaction, Gray Area immediately began fundraising for the victims in a campaign that has since surpassed $120,000. The arts foundation also held a vigil Saturday night to support those grieving the tragedy.
“We are inviting those in need of a safe space to come honor those affected by this tragedy and to receive and provide support,” the foundation wrote on its Facebook page Saturday. “We have been employers, supporters, of many of those who are missing.”
When an Oakland resident organized another online fundraiser and started a list of people around the Bay Area willing to help, at least three Mission residents signed on offering a place to sleep or meals, and especially support, to those who needed it.
Isaac Sherman, a Mission resident, was spurred to offer the couch in his living room.
“It’s just affecting the entire community and people I identify with, so it’s hard not to feel as if somebody I loved just died,” he said. “I am sitting here kind of just feeling helpless…it’s the least I can do.”
Jayinee Basu also opened up her home in the Mission to those in need.
“I offered up my place just in case there were folks who worked in the city and needed a place to crash—just a small thing to let people know they have community support when everything feels bleak and hopeless,” Basu wrote in an email. “My friends and I hang out in spaces like Ghost House often and it could have been any of us.”
Others in the neighborhood offered bedrooms, cooked meals, space to relax, even the company of a well-mannered cat.
Meanwhile, the community that spans the Bay continues to organize and fundraise as emergency crews work to pick apart the destroyed building piece by piece.
“This also represents the crunch we are all feeling on the lack of safe venues to support this type of music and art,” wrote Gray Area’s Josette Melchor in the fundraising campaign text. “Please care for each other right now.”