The SoMa was an area of the city that was plagued by poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol addition, and violence. At sundown a carnival-like atmosphere emerged. It featured dope peddlers, panhandlers, prostitutes, and the down and out. Emotionally damaged lost souls moved chaotically through the streets. People passed with hollow eyes pushing shopping carts filled with their worldly belongings and raged at the top of their lungs against an invisible adversary. Hustlers whispered, “what do ya need?”as they slithered from the shadows. Sirens wailed, lifeless people lay passed out on the sidewalk, and occasional gunshots cracked above the constant hum of activity.
The SoMa is also an area where hundreds of recent immigrants from everywhere around the globe huddle together in cramped single rooms or substandard housing doing their best to survive and hoping to get a shot at the American dream. Most of the churches and community centers had headed for higher ground when the flood of blight began to breach the levees.