Haight San Francisco

Haight-Ashbury ‘the beautiful’ went bourgeois

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When the Summer of Love is gone, you can still find its heat in Haight.

Surrounded by flowery Victorian buildings, greens of Golden Gate, Buena Vista and Panhandle parks, Haight-Ashbury neighborhood preserves the spirit of psychedelia of the 60s’, adding hip value to the housing prices, as well as hunger and drug problems to those who are homeless.

A center of Hippie utopia and counterculture in the past, the neighborhood today is comprised of mostly middle aged and well-off residents, with 75 percent of population being white, poverty level being 3 percent lower than in San Francisco, and median income — $27,135 higher than the city’s $110,000, according to U.S. Census.

Filled with tourists and strollers at daytime, Haight opens the doors of a couple of bars at night, but the real life happens outside, with live concerts illuminated by the blue stores’ lights.

Regardless of its wealthy facade, the neighborhood is “an international destination for youth who come seeking refuge from abusive families, alienating foster care … and juvenile justice system involvement,” according to Homeless Youth Alliance website.

“Come anytime, we are always here and not going anywhere,” said Chaos Tober, a sweeper at Taking it To The Streets organization that helps homeless youth.  “That’s our home.”

About the author

Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden is a freelance reporter and photographer. She writes original stories and enjoys clarifying complex ideas. For each of her works, Alena does in-depth reporting by speaking to experts and researching the topic.

Alena’s works were published in San Francisco Chronicle, Black Rock Beacon, Obscura Magazine, Xpress Magazine, San Francisco News, Red Wheelbarrow and La Voz News, and she was an editor of the online and features sections at the latter.

Right now, she studies journalism at San Francisco State University.