Tessa Paoli

Unanswered questions about elderly woman’s death at homeless shelter show why people are choosing tents over beds

Vivan Nishi was best known for her daily bike rides across Richmond, where she made frequent stops to visit with her son and friends. Then suddenly one day in September, the 73-year-old died of a heart attack in Brookside Homeless Shelter. Because her face bore a shallow cut from her cheek to her mouth and bruising around both eyes, Nishi’s son and daughter wanted to know more about what happened before she died. Her children paid for a private autopsy…

Family, work, music: In Richmond, homeless at 25

Sedzi-Solomon Mcnair stood in front of his tent in September as police and city workers forced him to pack up and move out without proper notice or help. While his neighbors in the Richmond homeless encampment rushed to break down their tents and gather their belongings before the city threw them away, Mcnair stood with his arms crossed, hood pulled over his head and feet firmly planted in the dirt. It was obvious Mcnair had been through this before. And…

How Richmond rebuilds abandoned homes

The house on South 37th Street is the ninth one rebuilt under the housing renovation program that turns abandoned, uninhabitable homes into livable ones and sells them to local, lower to medium income, first-time homebuyers.

Mayor promises long-term homeless plan, but surprise evictions of Richmond’s homeless continue

As city workers continue to uproot the homeless from encampments around Richmond, at times without any warning or help, Mayor Tom Butt is pushing to raise $1.5 million from local companies to pay for a managed homeless encampment. He has asked several local companies, including Chevron Corporation, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Apron, Costco Wholesale and Sims Metal Management to donate $154,000 each—to build and run a camp serving 100 people for a year. As a group of homeless people were being…

As vacant property tax vote nears, residents debate effectiveness

Richmond residents will vote in November on a vacant property tax that could raise $5 million in revenue for homeless services and code enforcement. While almost everyone agrees that homelessness and blight are major issues facing the city, there’s a debate over whether taxing property owners is the most effective way to address the problem.