Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Life in the San Fran Bay Area

Below is reflection on life in the San Fran Bay Area as a CSM City Host:
"I have continued to grow in my own understanding of poverty. One area of knowledge I have expanded on are Single Room Occupancy Hotels, also known as SROs, which are hotels occupied by individuals who rent a room by the week or the month. In essence, individuals and
generational families are living in these rooms. It is by no means luxurious. The rooms are small and have no running water. Each floor shares a common bathroom. People who are living in SROs are average Americans living paycheck to paycheck. The types of people or
situations that may land one in a SRO are: Veterans, who are living on their government check; Senior Citizens, whose social security checks do not allow for the comfort of their old lives; Individuals living with a chronic illness, because the medication are expensive; Single
parent and immigrant families; and lastly, Drug dealers, needing a room to do business out of with no long term commitment. There is a heavily populated neighborhood, The Tenderloin, which majority of the residents have addresses in one of the many SROs. With the living space at a minimum in the SROs individuals tend to use the streets as their living rooms; therefore, the Tenderloin has many people wandering about the streets. I have been able to work in various SROs; therefore, I have been able to see first hand the living conditions of many.
One of the outreaches I have been involved with at SROs is Project Open Hand. This is an outreach that prepares and delivers hot and frozen meals to those battling HIV/AIDS and Cancer. My group of students and I are able to walk the meals to various hotels and deliver them into the hands of the clients. It is a beautiful experience. The beauty stems from helping a neighbor in need. Many organizations expect clients to come to them in order to receive their services; however, with Project Open Hand we are able to go a step farther and knock on the individual's door. The clients are elated as
for some this will be their only meal of the day. I am so grateful for organizations such as Project Open Hand reaching into the community and sending a message of comfort and love."

-Lindsey Crawford, CSM San Francisco Bay Area City Host, Spring 2008

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