Sat September 19th
Yesica Prado’s photojournalism project, Home Is Where Your Heart Is, looks at the culture of vehicular living in the Bay Area, examining how policies and regulations such as overnight parking bans are affecting people living in their cars and RVs in Berkeley and San Francisco. This work is part of the CatchLight Local Initiative, which connects visual storytellers with local newsrooms and community members to strengthen trust, spark community dialogue, and share new representations of social issues.
Prado lost her housing in San Francisco while she was a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley. She came to the Berkeley Marina and joined a community of vehicular residents already residing there. Together they have created a network of support for one another, showing the empathy, resilience, and kindness present even in the face of precarious living.
On a Sunday afternoon, children play near the Gilman District in West Berkeley. Their family is part of a community of vehicle residents called Friends on Wheels, whose members have parked and lived together over the past two years.
Adrian gently caresses his pet Chihuahua Peanut while getting gasoline at the Gilman Chevron station in October 2019. Every two days, vehicular residents load up on gas to run their RV generators to power amenities inside their homes.
On Sunday morning, Gregory Nelson makes breakfast at the tow yard using a hot plate in December, 2019. He makes eggs and rice, cooking the free groceries he gets from a Potrero Hill community center. On weekends, Nelson does house chores at his former workplace, which allows him to maintain his hygiene and his gig-economy job.
Tantay Tolbert smiles for a portrait in her bedroom inside her recreational vehicle in December 2019. After losing her residential hotel room, Tolbert purchased an RV. She lives in it with her partner and two pit bull dogs in the Bayview neighborhood.
Tolbert’s recreational vehicle is parked among others along North Shore Yosemite Slough park in December 2019. Tolbert tries to park her RV as far as possible from businesses and houses, avoiding tensions and quarrels over public space.
Vehicular residents park in an industrial part of Bayview-Hunters Point in December 2019. The neighborhood is in San Francisco’s District 10, which is home to an estimated 45% of vehicle dwellers citywide.
At home, Bosco embraces Bonnie on Tolbert’s RV couch in December 2019. Tolbert’s pit bulls are her lovable companions, but also her only means of security.
Home Is Where Your Heart Is is part of Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?, an art and civic experience intended to drive awareness and mobilize the diverse communities of the Bay Area around the urgent, long-term impact of the 2020 US Census.
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As part of the digital experience Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America? YBCA has asked participating artists to respond to prompts around activism, community-building, and art, in the format of the Census’s 9 questions.