Occupation: Researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center
Story: Guevara, 31, grew up in Oakdale (Stanislaus County) and came to San Francisco to attend college. She lives with roommates in an apartment near City College. She says that she is fortunate to have found an affordable apartment but that she could never leave “because I’d have to leave the Bay Area. I could never move anywhere else in the city. If I ever wanted to live without roommates, I couldn’t do that.” She said she wants “density that complements the neighborhood.”
In her words: “One of the things that I’ve noticed in talking to other YIMBYs is how many of our parents are NIMBYs. I’ll talk to my mother about some NIMBYs group stopping a housing project for some preposterous reason, and she’ll be like, ‘It’s good they stopped that.’ I’m like ‘OK, Mom. I don’t know where to move with this conversation.’ It’s a generational thing, which I don’t think it should be.”
Neighborhood: The Haight
Occupation: Alameda County transportation planner Story: Kobernick, 32, lives in a three-bedroom apartment with two roommates in their late 20s. The total rent is $3,500. He said that ideally his apartment would be occupied by a family with kids, not a group of unrelated adults who would all be happier living alone in a studio or one bedroom. Koberick has been actively pushing housing at four sites in his neighborhood: the McDonald’s site at Haight and Stanyan streets — where the city plans to build affordable housing — two sites on Divisadero and one on Fulton Street. “All four examples are examples of infill development with no displacement. It’s taking underutilized places like gas stations and activating it as a place for people to live.”
In his words: NIMBYs “say traffic is bad, that Oak Street is congested. Their attitude is, ‘Why are these new people coming?’ They just want to put a wall up around the neighborhood. They don’t want new people. It’s brutal but it’s reality. One guy told us he didn’t want to live in Hong Kong. Is that what the Haight is going to become if we allow a few sevenstory apartment buildings?”
Story: Tejada stands out in a room full of YIMBYs. At 70, he’s twice as old as most of the people active in the movement. He’s also the owner of a home he bought two decades ago near the Balboa Reservoir. It’s a neighborhood where many residents are opposed to a redevelopment plan calling for about 1,100 new housing units.
In his words: “A lot people in my age group have the attitude, ‘I’ve got mine. If you don’t have yours, it’s your own fault.’ At the same time, they complain that their grown kids are living in their basement. Well, if there were more places for them to live they wouldn’t have to stay in the basement. I’m a firm believer that you don’t pull the drawbridge up.”