Western Kentucky University
$1,500 Scholarship Award and Hearst Medallion
Even while living in a rent-controlled studio on Folsom Street in the Mission District of San Francisco, Manuel Lobos, 61, manages to make room for nearly 10 instruments, including guitars and an accordion which he plays during a day off from his construction job on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. In 2013, the building where he lives was sold to SF Mission Tierra LLC, and Lobos remains fearful about his future housing situation. "I have no clue what will happen," Lobos said. "I've never had problems with my living quarters before, but the new owner worries me."
Sitting outside of his cramped studio with the proposed changes in hand, Manuel Lobos explains how SF Mission Tierra LLC plans to renovate his living space in the four-unit complex on Folsom Street on Tuesday, May 31, 2016.
Most tenants in San Francisco are covered by the city's rent control policies, meaning the tenant can only be evicted for "just causes" and rents can only be raised by certain amounts each year, as Lobos has experienced since 1986 when he first moved into his unit on the corner of Folsom and 24th Street and paid $650 per month. "I keep nearly every paper that has my name on it, and I'm glad to have the stacks," Lobos said. "It has saved me from being evicted or receiving a big hike of rent in the past."
A Google Bus travels through the Mission District in San Francisco on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, transporting the tech giant's employees home to various neighborhoods throughout the city. The controversial buses have prompted protests as they have become a token of the city's ongoing gentrification and swelling housing costs.
The past week has brought a lot of stress to Isabella Pineda, a tenant in the same building as Manuel Lobos where uncertainty looms. Last week her son's valuables were stolen from her unit's garage, including several bikes, Nike shoes and a gaming console, but it's the least of her worries. Just as in the case of Lobos, if the new owners of the building, SF Mission Tierra LLC, receive the go-ahead to renovate her studio, she'll be without living quarters. "It's pure hate toward us and we did nothing," Pineda said on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. "We have no place to go. At first we were told we would be moved to a hotel, then it was 'we'll give you $5,000.' That's nothing in this city."
A man passes by La Reyna Bakery, a Mexican bakery and coffee shop, on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, with a cup of coffee from Haus, a coffee shop that opened in 2009. La Reyna Bakery opened in 1977 by the parents of Luis Guitterez, the current co-owner of the bakery on 24th Street in the Mission District. "It's wild to see how this place has changed having lived here my entire life," Guitterez said. "Now there's all these hipster coffee shops and restaurants that can afford to be in the buildings they are because the community has changed that much."
After traveling from Oakland to San Francisco to run errands in the Mission District, Maria Coello sorts through her money to pay Luis Guitterez for baked goods at La Reyna bakery on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Coello lived in the neighborhood before succumbing to the rising cost of housing and moving across the bay. "Regular customers travel from far away now that they no longer live nearby," Guitterez said. "It's sad not only as a business, but as a community member, too."
Moving from North Beach to the Mission District has been a welcomed change of lifestyle for 23-year-old Maroun Najjar, who now lives in the predominantly Hispanic community. His daily commute to his job as a designer at NetPlus, a telecom company, has him pass a wide variety of shops along 24th Street, including the Mixcoatl Arts & Crafts store which features products like Lucha Libre masks. "It's phenomenal. I feel like I'm walking through a different country everyday," Najjar said of the Mission District on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. "The neighborhood may be shady in parts, but that's all part of the experience."
Inside the Sunrise Restaurant, owner Alba Guerra serves food to long-time Mission residents Jessie Ortiz and Agnes Escalante on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Guerra has owned and operated the restaurant since 1994 when several other small restaurants like hers dotted the neighborhood, but now she says she is the sole Salvadoran restaurant in the neighborhood and she's worried about her situation as her $5,000 per month lease ends in less than two years. "All the small cafes like mine are leaving, so it scares me," Guerra said of a possible hike in rent of $5,000. "I can't compete and pay the rent the (landlord) wants me to pay."
Tourists pass by the home of Miguel Mandujano in the Mission District's Balmy Avenue on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, where murals adorn fences and walls. The artwork started to line the alley in the 1980's as a way for local artists to express outrage over human rights and political abuses throughout their home countries in Central America. Now the alley features murals on several subjects like local gentrification issues and Hurricane Katrina.
Construction continues on a lot at the corner of Mission and 22nd Street in San Francisco's Mission District on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. A fire on Jan. 28, 2015, forced 60 tenants and businesses out before two more fires erupted in the building. Now the lot is set to be turned into a brand-new apartment complex with new rental rates, and tenants of the prior building suspect the first fire may have been intentionally set as a way to make way for new development and financial gains, even though a spokesperson for the city's fire department said it was likely accidental.
A woman sleeps on a bench outside of a Phillz Coffee shop on Folsom Street in the Mission District on Tuesday, May 31, 2016. Outsiders are more prevalent now in the Latino neighborhood than ten years ago when streets were less safe.
Single -- Even after San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proposed $700 million more to the city's budget the day before, James Richards, a homeless man, isn't impressed. He finds refuge on the lawns outside of City Hall and always keeps a pocket knife at the ready in his hand. "I've been out hustling these streets since 1989, and not a thing has changed," Richards said. "I don't even press the issue anymore because we get nothing... It is what it is."