A "check cashing" sign hangs above a storefront. While San Franciscans who owe COVID-19-related rent debt are eligible for relief from the government, those who borrowed from friends, family, and other sources are stuck with that debt.

Thousands in SF Saddled With Rent Debt but Ineligible for Government Help

Thousands of San Franciscans who borrowed money to pay rent during the pandemic are stuck with that debt, making them worse off than those who let the bills lapse.

Federal relief funds cover only unpaid housing expenses. That leaves tenants vulnerable if they made good-faith efforts to pay those costs by taking on thousands of dollars of debt to credit card companies, payday lenders, relatives or friends — especially if they later seek different housing.

A map of San Francisco shows central and southern neighborhoods marked in red. In the early 20th century, San Francisco’s central and southeastern neighborhoods were redlined, meaning designated as high risk, leaving their residents less likely to obtain government-backed mortgage loans than residents of other areas. A recent study suggests their residents now face higher risks from pollution.

State Report Links Redlining and Pollution Threats

San Francisco neighborhoods the federal government targeted with racist lending practices face the greatest health threats from pollution, a recent state study found. The California Environmental Protection Agency analyzed the latest pollution data in historically redlined neighborhoods, where people of color were denied mortgage loans under federal policies, in the report finalized in August.

Two doctors protest outside Mayor London Breed's house on April 30, 2020, calling for more hotel rooms to be opened for people experiencing homelessness to safely shelter during COVID-19. The one in front holds a sign reading "this is a public health nightmare."

As COVID Cases Surge Among SF’s Homeless, Shelter Options Narrow

As cases of COVID-19 surge in San Francisco, advocates question whether the city can prevent another outbreak in the homeless community. Between June 30 and July 31, confirmed cases among homeless people quadrupled from 18 to 78. But as the delta variant of the coronavirus sweeps across the city, there is a growing shortage of safe places for homeless people to go.

Several men gather just outside a building at San Quentin prison, with Mt. Tamalpais framed by dramatic clouds in the background. Four prisoners a tSan Quentin have tested positive for COVID-19 and their housing unit is under quarantine.

BREAKING NEWS: San Quentin Suffers New COVID-19 Outbreak

San Quentin State Prison is experiencing a new COVID-19 outbreak after four incarcerated men in a cell block tested positive, chief medical executive Alison Pachynski said on Saturday. Four of six men placed in quarantine this week were symptomatic and confirmed positive for COVID-19 even though they had been vaccinated, Pachynski said.

Volunteer Tiffany Williams displays an open box filled with electrical air monitoring equipment.

Air-Pollution Tracking Project Launches in SF Bayview

Environmental activists are about to launch an air-monitoring project to track pollution linked to high rates of asthma and other health conditions in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. The results could play an important role in demonstrating the environmental harm residents suffer.

A COVID-19 vaccination card at a medical clinic.

Vaccine Mandates Likely to Pass Legal Muster, Law Professor Says

There have already been attempts to challenge vaccine mandates around the nation in court. Dorit Reiss, a law professor at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law who researches legal considerations around vaccines and vaccine mandates, talked with “Civic” about what employers and governments must weigh when it comes to requiring immunization.

Outreach workers stand at a Tenderloin intersection wearing reflective vests and pulling a rolling cart with a sign reading “free COVID-19 vaccinations here.” This team administered 23 single-dose vaccines during an afternoon shift on Jul. 15, 2021.

Outreach Effort Brings Vaccines Directly to Tenderloin Streets

During the pandemic, Code Tenderloin has distributed everything from water to masks to food. With the arrival of the vaccine, they have collaborated with health care providers from the University of California, San Francisco and the nonprofit service provider Glide to try to overcome barriers to vaccination by walking the streets, offering immunizations on the spot.

An Alcatraz employee is seated on a ferry to the island with a sign instructing COVID-19 protocol in the foreground.

UPDATED: How SF Is Handling Masking as Delta Variant Circulates

The highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has arrived in the Bay Area. Case numbers are surging in parts of the country with low vaccination rates, and, while San Francisco’s case numbers are slightly on the rise, most residents are vaccinated. Dr. Susan Philip, San Francisco’s Health Officer, talked with “Civic” about the details of the current mask rules, the delta variant and the importance of vaccines.