“They call it a hotel but it’s an insane asylum” Fujji says about the Baldwin Hotel in San Francisco. Roach infested, rats, ceiling tiles falling down, holes in the floor, and garbage all over are just a few of the reasons Fujji and his wife felt living on the streets would be safer and cleaner.
In the room they lived in you had to turn on the water from below the sink. After making requests for repairs and getting no response, Fujji stopped paying rent.
Over a decade ago, during my first month of homelessness, I stayed in this type of hotel. When my money ran out (I paid for a week) management gave me the option to work at one of their other hotels in Hollywood in exchange for a room. This seemed like a smart move because I didn’t want to live outside, but what I thought was a plan turned into a nightmare. The owners of the hotel were nasty people with no conscious regard as to how people should be treated.
As a TV producer I once snuck a camera into Los Angele’s infamous Ford Hotel. The hotel is now remolded, but at the time it was like out of a horror movie. I remember walking into a bathroom and watching hundreds of roaches run up the wall from a bathtub. You can not even imagine how horrible the Ford Hotel was at the time, yet it was home to many low-income families with children.
We have a serious affordable housing crisis in this country. We need more low-income housing, but that housing should also be fit for humans to live in. Sadly, there are people who care more about money than people that take advantage of those with little influence.
People like Fujji and his wife, who both are on a fixed disability income, should be able to find a clean and safe place to call home!