What does it mean to feel “at home” during an affordable-housing crisis? How does this crisis—leading to extreme rent burdens, precarious living situations, widespread displacement, and homelessness—impact people’s sense of belonging and community? And how are these personal impacts tied to broader social and ecological impacts—as families sacrifice basic needs to make rent, and as unaffordable housing drives sprawling, unsustainable urban development?
No Place Like Home is a UCHRI-funded research project based at UC Santa Cruz that is focused on answering these questions, and combines the resources of faculty in the Social Sciences and Humanities. I was asked to join the project as web developer and editor, and am pleased to announce the launch of our initial site, detailing the results of our initial survey on rental conditions in low-income communities here in Santa Cruz. The site also compiles research on efforts to protect tenants and expand access to affordable housing in our region and nationally; and embodies best practices for digital scholarship and advocacy with a multi-platform design and by being fully available in both Spanish and English. By sharing these voices, visions, and research, we hope to inform and inspire broader efforts to address the crisis.
We launched both the survey data and the site with a great event at the Museum of Art and History (MAH), that was attended by over 400 people—an indication of just how pervasive housing pressures are in our community. Over the course of this year, the site will expand to include audio documentaries, mapping, and creative non-fiction projects, as we seek to understand the experience and impacts of the housing affordability crisis in Santa Cruz County and our wider region.
Local coverage of the event:
Santa Cruz Sentinel – “73 Percent Burdened by Rent”
Santa Cruz Sentinel – “Santa Cruz County median rent: $2,914 and rising”