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California Dream

Traffic sign of CA interstate 1 highway.

You became a Californian because someone in your family believed in a dream. A strong public education. The promise of a job. The weather. (Ahhh, the weather.) In its long history, the California Dream has meant different things to different people. Today, the state’s identity is in marked contrast to the rest of the country. The dream may still be alive, but it’s challenged at every corner.

What does it mean today?

KPBS and mission-driven media organizations around the state will explore the California Dream starting this year. Reporters and producers will tell the personal stories and discuss the ideas that make up the history, future and current state of the California Dream.

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Beloved San Francisco Zen Hospice Project Confronts Its Own End

Aug. 15
April Dembosky/KQED

The San Francisco institution was founded during the height of the AIDS crisis, a time when sick men were left to die alone in the hallways of county hospitals because staff were afraid to touch them. Buddhist practitioners bought the Victorian on Page Street to create a place where men could get compassionate care and die with dignity.

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Where Do People Get Money To Buy California Homes These Days? Often, From Mom And Dad

Aug. 7
David Wagner and Aaron Mendelson / KPCC

Federal data shows first-time buyers in California increasingly rely on family for help.

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Not Living In The Dorms? Good Luck Figuring Out What College Is Gonna Cost

Aug. 6
Vanessa Rancaño/KQED

Inaccurate cost of attendance estimates can throw off students’ budgeting and their financial aid packages.

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Do Housing Costs Deserve Some Of The Blame For California’s Plummeting Fertility Rate?

July 30
By Amita Sharma

The state’s birth rate has dropped to near-record lows, about 1.76 children per woman.

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Roundtable: Reunification Deadline Passes

July 27
By Bennett Lacy, Mark Sauer

The federal government tries to meet a deadline to reunite separated immigrant families, San Diego County leaders weigh whether to bypass its general plan to approve new housing construction, and California's birth rate reaches a record low.

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Fleeing War-Torn Homes For Crippling Rents — How California Housing Costs Are Creating A Harsh Reality For Refugees

July 27
Matt Levin / CALmatters

Seventy hours a week driving Uber, peeing in a bottle, and still late with the rent; refugee agencies rethink strategies in the “resistance state.”

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One State, Unaffordable: Your Housing Questions, Answered

July 13
Kacey Gardner / Capital Public Radio

When it comes to living in California and why it costs so much — you have a lot of questions. We set out to get answers.

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Is California’s Legacy Environmental Law Protecting The State’s Beauty Or Blocking Affordable Housing?

July 10
Ben Bradford/Capital Public Radio

Habitat for Humanity wants to build affordable housing in Redwood City, but a nearby resident is using the California Environmental Quality Act to stop the apartments.

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High Home Prices And Congestion Shrink The California Dream

July 5
Meghan McCarty Carino / KPCC

With California’s problems of affordability and congestion, many of us are paying a higher price for an ever-shrinking sliver of California paradise. Even those lucky enough to be able to afford a home often do so at the expense of some of the quintessential perks of life in the Golden State.

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California Dream: Exploring The Promise — And Unintended Consequences — Of Rent Control

June 27
Chris Nichols/Capital Public Radio

As rents have increased, so have calls to strengthen rent control laws across the state. Voters this fall will have the chance to weigh in on a potential first step.

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A Dimming Dream Of Retirement In California

June 19
By Amita Sharma

California has one of the highest percentages of seniors living in poverty in the United States, behind only Washington D.C. Escalating rent and healthcare costs are forcing many of California’s elderly, especially women, onto a path of downward mobility.

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Should Someone Making $200K A Year Get Help To Buy A House In California?

June 14
Matt Levin / CAL MATTERS

When the California Housing Finance Agency was created in 1975 during Governor Jerry Brown’s first term, the mission was simple: help low- and moderate-income families buy their first home. More than 40 years later, that goal is getting harder and harder to attain.

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Housing Costs Crush California’s Low-Income College Students

June 8
Vanessa Rancaño / KQED

Attending a university in California can be a financial burden beyond the means of many college hopefuls. Rising tuition is compounded by the lack of affordable housing in the state and the high cost of living.

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Making San Francisco’s Gritty Tenderloin Safer For Kids

June 1
Farida Jhabvala Romero/KQED

On a wet sidewalk in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, Michael Cameron approached a middle-aged man snorting a white powder cupped in his hands. Cameron, a 65-year old volunteer in the neighborhood, asked the drug user to move across the street. He knew hundreds of school children soon would be walking by.

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California’s High Rent Leaves Many One Crisis Away From Financial Ruin

May 29
By Amita Sharma

The state’s notoriously high housing costs are gobbling up paychecks, leaving many teetering on the brink of financial disaster.

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