Watch: A live chat with current and formerly homeless ‘In Your Backyard’ columnists
Kristine Gardner Ramsey, a San José Spotlight columnist who was unhoused for nine years before finding housing a year ago, is pictured in this file photo. Photo by Rachel Leven.

    Six months after our first ‘In Your Backyard’ column was published, the country and San Jose are in turmoil.

    As the pandemic and homelessness crises converge, it has become clear a lot more people are a lot more vulnerable than we thought. The columns we published from people who have faced homelessness and prevailed have been powerful for our community and our readers. These stories are more relevant than ever before. There’s a strong possibility that a year from now, thousands more will be in the streets who have never found themselves there before.

    In the months to come, our columnists will explore more experiences with readers. These stories will be raw, sometimes uncomfortable, but always relevant to the moment. This month, we will be sharing with you the perspectives of our columnists as it relates to policing and homelessness in San Jose.

    Last month we marked the milestone of reaching half a year in this journey with a live forum where for the first time you heard and saw some of the authors of these powerful ‘In Your Backyard’ columns.

    The May 27 forum was originally planned as an in-person event but, as with everything else, 2020 had other plans. So we carried on through Zoom. Thanks to the panelists, San José Spotlight and sponsors Housing Authority Santa Clara County, Abode Services and Destination: Home for helping elevate the voices of people who lived — and survived — the streets of Silicon Valley.

    Here’s a recording of the forum for anyone curious about the panelists’ experiences and the valuable lessons they shared.


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