Friday, October 04, 2013

KQED Omits Castro Sup. from Homeless Gay PWA Story

(Tom Oviatt, when he was living in his car over the summer. Credit: Bryan Goebel, KQED.)

This is rather telling and embarrassing for the Castro's member of the Board of Supervisors. He's omitted from KQED's story today about the wave of evictions of gay men living with AIDS in his district. Has he done a darn thing about housing and health menace for a growing number of gay PWA? Nothing that I'm aware of.

While the Supervisor and his three paid staffers devote much time and energy to stopping nudity, removing benches from Harvey Milk Plaza, outlawing sleeping in City parks, doing the bidding of the businesses in the Merchants of Upper Market Castro group and making sure the Supervisor gets much press, the evictions of too many people in District 8 mount.

The Castro Biscuit web site happily serves as the Supervisor's mouthpiece and rarely criticizes him, can't recall the last time they took him to task over anything, and I expect that site will attempt to spin his omission from the KQED piece as something positive.

If Harvey Milk were alive, you can rest assured he'd be fighting like hell to stop the evictions and help his gay brothers living with AIDS and all District 8 residents who are displaced or facing eviction.

From KQED reporter Bryan Goebel:

Tim Oviatt, 64, had a tough time getting into low-income housing after he was kicked out of his apartment. He has a job at a local retail store. When I interviewed him, he took me to the store's parking lot, where he was living in his Chrysler convertible.

“I have blankets and pillows in the trunk and just put the seat down as low as it'll go and just cocoon up in there. It doesn't make for a great night's sleep.”

For 26 years, Oviatt, who moved to San Francisco in the 70s from Detroit, owned a boutique store in the heart of the Castro known as All American Boy.  When the recession hit, a string of calamitous events began. He lost his shop, made some bad business decisions, couldn't pay his mortgage and his partner died from AIDS.

Oviatt, also living with AIDS, said his feet swell up when he sleeps in the car and it's been broken into. “It truly has worn me down. I mean, I’m pretty strong but this takes the hell out of you and it’s expensive, believe it or not, living on the street, because you have no place to cook.”

Oviatt said his co-workers were supportive for the eight months he was forced to live in his car. Since our interview in July, he's found housing, thanks to the AIDS Housing Alliance, which in recent years has helped more than 1,000 LGBT people avoid becoming homeless.

1 comment:

vcdiva said...

This is so tragic, and shameful. How can San Francisco continue to let this happen? Soon no one will be living here but the techies, and those making over $100K!