In San Francisco, stringent and widespread parking restrictions are a fact of life. But to the hundreds of city residents who live in their vehicles, these regulations can also be an obstacle to maintaining stability and getting off the streets. Vehicle dwellers play cat-and-mouse with the government’s enforcement apparatus, violating local laws to survive outdoors.
Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis
Thousands of Bay Area residents are “vehicularly housed,” living in cars, vans, RVs and campers. They like many others in search of alternative shelter are victims of a decades-long affordable housing crisis affecting the whole region. Photojournalist Yesica Prado, who has a unique longstanding connection with communities of vehicle dwellers, takes us behind the scenes to tell the stories of people finding ways to protect themselves and their friends in a sometimes-hostile political climate that restricts their movement and makes daily life more difficult.
The photos here are just a few examples. See the articles and photo essays linked below to explore the whole project, including coronavirus resource guides for vehicle dwellers in San Francisco and Berkeley in English and Spanish; an interview with Yesica Prado discussing the project on “Civic,” our daily news and public affairs podcast and radio program; and “Quarantine Diary,” a behind-the-scenes video documenting what her life is like living in an RV.
“Driving Home: Surviving the Housing Crisis” was produced in collaboration with the Bay Area visual storytelling nonprofit CatchLight through its CatchLight Local Initiative. As a CatchLight Local Fellow at the San Francisco Public Press, Yesica Prado examined the culture of vehicle living in San Francisco and Berkeley. Her fellowship work has been featured by the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and by the Artists Against an #Infodemic Campaign, which aims to improve access to locally relevant public health information.
The CatchLight Local Initiative is funded by the Kresge Foundation, The GroundTruth Project, the Facebook Journalism Project, the Neda Nobari Foundation and the Lisa Stone Pritzker Family Foundation.