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 for a site detailing the results of surveys 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. Further expansions of the site will include animations, mapping, and more qualitative forms of digital storytelling around ideas of place, home, and community. By sharing these voices, visions, and research, we hope to inform and inspire broader efforts to address the crisis.