I see a lot of mattresses when I walk around my San Francisco neighborhood of Potrero Hill. I don’t know where they came from, how they got here or who slept on them. When I see a mattress I use the SF311 App to notify the city. Sometimes the mattress can stay in the same location for days, or even weeks, before being carted away by city workers. In the meantime they get moved around, piled with trash and perhaps used again as sleeping places.
What is it truly like to be homeless? Arjanna van der Plas finds the humanity behind our shared misconceptions
Arjanna van der Plas is a writer and designer who focuses her work on the stories of homelessness in the San Francisco bay area. In this talk, one of five Shift Ignite sessions held earlier this year at the Shift Forum, van der Plas brings us into the world occupied by the human beings forced into life without a true sense of belonging.
Arjanna van der Plas: Hi, my name is Arjanna. My talk is about the invisible wisdom that I found in the city. Imagine going through a day where nobody looks you in the eyes. You wake up, nobody wishes you good morning. You walk through the city and everybody ignores you, or even avoids you.
These homes were all found in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, all within a mile of my own house. To me, they demonstrate a creative spirit and determination to make a life in this very expensive city.