Housing

New grant offers hope of housing for people encamped on Castro Street

Angelina Peña moved into a trailer in a vacant parking lot in North Richmond nine months ago.  “Unfortunately, hardship happened,” she said, offering a quick explanation of the predicament that took her away from her children and to the encampment where her sister was living.  Peña landed a job with Safe Organized Spaces, an advocacy group that donated the trailer she lives in alongside about 100 other residents at the Castro Street encampment. Named after its entrance at the intersection…

Black tenants burdened more than others by high rents, relief program stats show

Charlene Cornelious was seriously considering putting in her 30-day notice. It was July 2021, and Cornelious, a longtime Richmond resident, was worried she wasn’t going to be able to pull together the $960 she needed to pay her rent. Her Crohn’s disease had flared up again earlier that month, causing abdominal pain and diarrhea and forcing her to take time off from her job as a nurse’s assistant in San Pablo. But being home meant her only source of income…

Richmond renter sues former landlord amid pandemic-era spike in harassment

These days Clara Realageno sleeps in her car. In the morning she packs up her things — a pillow, blankets, a suitcase and some toiletries — and drops them off at a friend’s house so they don’t get stolen while she’s at work. It’s been five months since Realageno’s landlord evicted her by changing the locks to her studio in Richmond. With nowhere else to go, Realageno now spends most nights in her backseat. In September, Realageno sued her former…

Fires at Castro encampment renew calls for safety at Richmond RV sites

Reggie Wiggins opened the door to his stepmother’s recreational vehicle in a Richmond encampment in the early hours of Oct. 8 and felt a wave of heat. Wiggins, who had been staying with his stepmother in an RV at a homeless encampment by the Richmond Parkway, saw a car and an RV on fire nearby.  “Everything was up in flames,” Wiggins, 30, said. “Ash flying up everywhere. It was a scary moment.” This site, often called the Castro Encampment because…

Racing to patch RV roofs ahead of the rain at Richmond encampment

Advocates worked Tuesday to weatherproof recreational vehicles at an encampment in Richmond in preparation for heavy rainfall this week.   Two Bay Area advocacy organizations — NeighborAid and Safe Organized Spaces! Richmond — spent the afternoon at Castro and Hensley streets, sealing cracks to protect as many of the nearly 30 parked vehicles there as they could.  Richmond City Council has debated how to better serve the many people living in vehicles. In January 2020, 1,750 people in Richmond were without…

Eviction may be coming for Richmond tenants who miss rent payments

Richmond renters may again face eviction for not paying their rent after California’s eviction moratorium, which was designed to protect renters who lost work during the COVID-19 pandemic, expired Thursday night. Richmond has its own eviction moratorium. But it turns out that doesn’t protect tenants who miss future rent payments, because of a legal complexity regarding when it passed. That means that, beginning Friday, Richmond landlords can once again take tenants to court over missed rent payments. The city’s moratorium…