The national media’s fascination with our anchor-out neighbors continues. The May 17 Wall St. Journal carried an article titled: “Home Prices Lead Some To the Water,” which is available online under a longer headline.
Writer Jim Carlton leads off by stating: “Homelessness has become such a big problem in the San Francisco area that waters outside the city are increasingly crowded with people living on makeshift boats.” He adds: “The median price for an existing single-family home in the San Francisco Bay Area has nearly tripled to $940,000 from $327,000 since 2009, according to March data from the California Association of Realtors, amid a surge in technology jobs over the same time.” That has led to “a ragtag collection of some 200 barges, sailboats, and other mostly decrepit vessels” which he finds “Is a sign of an affordable-housing crisis in California that is being felt particularly acutely in the San Francisco Bay Area.” The article cites similar problems “in pricey coastal locales from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Honolulu, Hawaii.”
Carlton describes attempts by Sausalito and the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency to find viable housing alternatives for anchor-outs, but some, like 80-year-old Greg Baker, remain committed to life on the water. Baker recently told KQED that he doesn’t plan on leaving the water anytime soon: “It’s home, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” he says. “They’ll have to take me away in handcuffs.” Evidently, Baker has upped his game, because he later told the WSJ: “There are two ways I’m leaving: in a black body bag or handcuffs.”
The WSJ article is similar to one published recently in Harper’s Magazine.
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Chronicle has provided some early publicity for our Open Homes Tour. In a May 19 travel section on Marin, the Chronicle writes, “The blend of million-dollar beauties and down-on-their-luck beaters makes the city’s houseboat docks one of Sausalito’s most intriguing spots.” The short item recommends walking the docks, but adds, “Remember, people live here, so the best way to see them is to sign up for the annual open house tour from the Floating Homes Association.” They even got the date right: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 14.