A woman chats on her phone, wearing a mask,while walking down Ocean Avenue in early January.She strolls pass a mural highlighting, “Ingleside Pride,” painted on a closed medical business. Residents in the neighborhoods of Ingleside, Excelsior, Mission and the Tenderloin are struggling to continue paying rent.Despite the region’s high rents, the percentage of San Francisco area residents who are behind on their rent is lower than the national average.

One-Quarter of Bay Area Tenants Say They Can’t Pay the Rent

As the pandemic stretches into its second year, an estimated 278,000 households, or roughly one-quarter of the Bay Area’s 1.1 million renters, have little or no confidence they will be able to make next month’s rent, according to a San Francisco Public Press analysis of Census Bureau data. An estimated 60,000 renters living in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties who were behind on their rent in mid-December said they feared eviction in the next 60 days.

Photo courtesy of Ali Alkhatib.

Social Media Content Moderation Is Not Neutral, USF Researcher Says

“Unless you are building this specifically with the marginalized and vulnerable groups, it’s hard to build any system like this that does anything but further oppress people who are already under the thumb of various other structures and various other bureaucracies and powers,” said research fellow Ali Alkhatib.

Ensign Kaitlyn Leibing, right, a staff nurse assigned to one of Naval Medical Center San Diego’s internal medicine wards, helps Hospitalman Angela Mello don personal protective equipment before entering a COVID-19-positive, non-critical patient’s room on Aug. 4, 2020.

Doctors Work Through Coronavirus Surge, Stress, Patient Isolation as Vaccines Arrive

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that hospitals need to get ready for what he described as a potential “surge on top of a surge, arguably on top of another surge” of COVID-19 cases stemming from the holidays. In the Bay Area, hospitals still have some ICU capacity left, but health care practitioners are working hard to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients. The surge is leaving workers stretched thin and patients isolated.

Sarah Karlinsky. Courtesy of SPUR

To Address Housing Crisis, Expert Says, Consider Housing a Human Right

Rents may be falling, but the Bay Area is still unaffordable and has for years fallen short of its housing construction goals. The construction shortfall is particularly pronounced in subsidized housing. While the pandemic is changing the way people work and socialize and has resulted in economic downturn, acquiring land and building remain expensive. Sarah Karlinsky, senior advisor at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, a public policy think tank better known as SPUR, has published a report indicating that Bay Area municipalities should be constructing 45,000 units of housing per year.

The San Francisco Ballet, pictured here performing "The Nutcracker" in 2008, is one of many Bay Area arts organizations shifting to online performances this year.

S.F. Arts Go Virtual for the Holidays

Seventy-six years ago, the San Francisco Ballet introduced “The Nutcracker” to America. This year, the company will introduce the “Nutcracker Online” — a virtual holiday experience for the era of COVID-19.

S.F. Ballet is just one of many local arts organizations that have adapted their holiday offerings for a socially distanced season. It’s not easy to capture the spirit of live performance without an audience, but constraints have bred creativity and opened new channels of artistic expression.