The Pacific Media Workers Guild congratulates members Trisha Thadani and Joaquin Palomino, who are receiving an award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Northern California Chapter for digging through thousands of public records to produce a series of articles bringing the travails of “supportive housing” tenants in San Francisco to the attention of Chronicle readers, city voters and public officials.
For their “Broken Homes” series, Thadani and Palomino are getting one of several James Madison Awards that SPJ NorCal gives annually to individuals and organizations who have furthered the causes of government transparency and/or freedom of expression.
SPJ NorCal plans to present the awards at a banquet in the Marines Memorial Club in San Francisco on March 16, Madison’s birthday. Madison is credited as the father of the U.S. Constitution and played a key role in drafting the Bill of Rights. Click here for banquet details.
In announcing the award, SPJ NorCal’s Freedom of Information Committee said Thadani and Palomino “brought the full force of public records to shine a light on the experiences of tenants in a type of subsidized accommodation called ‘supportive housing.’ Some 6,000 of the city’s formerly homeless residents live in this housing, usually in the form of decaying residential hotels in and near San Francisco’s Tenderloin district.
“Compiling and parsing thousands of government records, the series unearthed woeful conditions in the hotels and compelled civic leaders to react. The series showed how the city evicts many supportive housing tenants for the very same reasons that qualified them for subsidy to begin with, and revealed that 40 percent of the Tenderloin’s overdoses happen inside these hotels. After the first installments of the series, voters passed a ballot measure creating more oversight for the city agency responsible for the system, and the mayor earmarked millions to pay case managers higher wages and fund building repairs.”
– Richard Knee, Guild Vice President, California