Earlier this week, the PBS documentary show Frontline released a heartbreaking video about the struggles of an 11-year-old girl living on the margins in San Francisco roughest neighborhood.
Entitled "Sera's Story," the short feature follows the bubbly, effervescent Sera as she details her life living in a tiny, cramped apartment with her mother and older sister.
"I don't think it's a good way to be growing up," says Sera. "But I guess it's just the family I was put into. It was all for some reason. Maybe it's because we're strong, I don't know."
San Francisco has the most expensive housing of any major city in America and those high prices can make it incredibly difficult for middle-class and poor families to survive.
After Sera's mother lost her job, the family began subsisting on unemployment checks and was forced to move into the emergency housing shelter. They've since moved into a single room, rent-subsidized apartment in San Francisco's gritty Tenderloin district. She says she can't walk outside by herself out of fear of the neighborhood's drug-addled denizens.
The family is hoping to move into a larger, more permanent apartment in the city's Western Addition neighborhood, but the waiting list is long and funding cuts at both the state and federal levels have made affordable housing an increasingly scarce commodity in San Francisco.
This housing instability has put the eleven year-old under intense stress. "No kid should have to go through this yet every day kids do. It’s just crazy," she says. "It's not a fun experience. It's annoying that people say ‘It doesn't matter, it's just a little problem, it's over now, get over it.' No, it's not over. It changes you. I'm still the same old obnoxious Sera but, deep down, I'm a whole new person. Well, I'm a whole different person."
The segment is from a larger feature called "Poor Kids," which looks at the devastating effects of the economic crisis through the eyes of children.