About 69% of “no-fault” housing evictions in San Francisco take place within four blocks of shuttle bus stops for tech employees, according to the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, an online resource created by activists who are opposed to the gentrification of the city by wealthy tech workers.
So-called “Google buses” are controversial in San Francisco because they make it easier for tech employees to live in the city and commute to Silicon Valley. That has driven up rents and real estate prices in the city, forcing out some non-tech workers.
Drawing on data from the San Francisco Rent Board, a 2012 Stamen Design study and a 2013 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency report, the maps show how landlords have increased the number of evictions of rent-paying tenants in recent years. “No-fault” evictions occur when the landlord simply wants the property back, usually to renovate or sell it.
The data comes with one obvious caveat: Evictions, bus stops, and gentrified apartments are highly likely to occur in clusters simply because no one places bus stops where people don’t live.
Nonetheless, when the last three years of evictions are viewed in sequence on top of a map of shuttle stops it does look dramatic.
Here was the situation in 2011:
This was 2012:
And this is 2013:
This is what it looks like when you put the three maps together:
These are the companies that run those shuttle stops. It’s not just Google, obviously, but Google takes the brunt because it is the biggest:
The project makes these claims about the growth of evictions in San Francisco:
- No-fault evictions increased 42% between 2011 and 2012.
- No-fault evictions increased 57% between 2012 and 2013.
However — and this is pretty crucial — the overall number of evictions isn’t that high compared to a decade ago (during the dot-come bubble):
While there has been a recent increase in evictions, it has barely returned to the level they were at right before the real estate crash in 2008.
The Project wants people to sign a pledge not to move into an apartment that has become free due to an eviction. That might create some interesting market dynamics. If the pledge takes off, it would reduce the number of apartments available for renters, thus increasing their price.
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