Ed. note: The San Francisco Chronicle  has spearheaded an effort to cover the city’s most intractable humanitarian crisis, homelessness. More than 70 local and national media organizations are participating by examining the issue from all possible angles. As part of this effort, AlterNet has interviewed homeless people in San Francisco to get their take on how and why they have lost their shelter and what life is like for them in the nation’s capital of inequality.
On Monday afternoon, as Patty L., a 33-year-old native San Franciscan currently living in a tent, began describing the casual hate tossed her way every day, a 30-ish, chubby white man in an Izod polo and khaki shorts walked by.
“Um,” he said scornfully. “Can I get through?”
Patty was leaning against a building, visiting two friends who live in a tent on a corner across the street from a trendy rock climbing gym. At least five feet of pavement separated Patty and the tent, which sits in the Mission District, a Latino/working-class/artists’ enclave transforming into the fastest-gentrifying neighborhood in the country.
A minute before, a woman with a double stroller passed Patty and her friends without pause. But the man stood there, waiting for Patty to plant herself against the building.