They’re Children at Risk of Abuse, and Their Caseworkers Are Stuck Home

Scores of investigations into allegations of abuse or neglect have been delayed or sharply curtailed during the coronavirus pandemic, records and interviews show.

By Garrett Therolf, Daniel Lempres and Aksaule Alzhan

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SF’s new Russian immigrants venture into places like the Mission, leaving the Richmond behind

For at least a year, Nina Pakhomova, a Russian mathematician and IT specialist, received job offers from a U.S. tech outfit that had become familiar with her work through the St. Petersburg company they had hired. The offers, however, failed to persuade her. The Bay Area, she concluded during work trips here, was simply too expensive.

In 2014, she was in the United States working on an assignment for her Russian employer when anti-Russian sanctions triggered an economic meltdown back home, a day that came to be known as Black Tuesday. Suddenly, her ruble allowance became worthless. A $10 lunch, the rough equivalent of 300 rubles, jumped to 800 rubles by the end of the week. For the first time, Pakhomova and her husband, a software engineer, began to consider the unthinkable: They would become immigrants.

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Small businesses along Albany’s commercial corridors struggling to find employees

Located at the intersection of Albany and Berkeley, the Tokyo Fish Market is never empty. Customers buying salmon, sushi or Japanese rice desserts fill the large room, and workers carrying, cutting, and wrapping fish abound. Or so it seems.

The market needs more workers, said Li Nakamura, who has been running it since 1990. 

“Every business has a hard time right now finding workers,” he said. “We do not know why.” 

Up and down Albany’s commercial district of Solano and San Pablo, owners and managers talked of a tech boom that has brought more customers willing to spend more money.  The problem is finding and keeping enough employees to serve them. Employers blame competition from other cities — workers can walk next door to Berkeley and get more money — and from tech jobs like driving for Uber and Lyft.   

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With housing prices continuing to rise more adult children are choosing to live at home.

Emma Sousa, 22, commutes twice a week from her parent’s house in Brentwood to UC Berkeley where she is studying English. Round trip, she spends three-four hours a day commuting.

Although she works part-time as an office manager in a construction company and makes $15 for an hour, she can’t afford to live near the campus — it is too expensive.

Sousa is not alone. Although the majority of adults who live with their parents come from Asian and Hispanic families where living at home is culturally accepted, the number of white and black Americans living with their parents has also grown.

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New real estate managers who turned the flaw of the Tech Boom into an advantage, become trendsetters in the Bay Area.

Those who were fortunate enough to buy housing in the Bay Area before the Tech Boom, now are in good shape and even invest their money further in real estate.

A former taxi driver and restaurant worker Binod Tamang does not like to waste time. As he waits for his 9-year-old daughter to finish her Kung-Fu lesson in Albany, he looks through real estate ads and checks for any housing market news. Housing has become his main occupation — he owns four houses in Richmond and San Pablo, renting them out for $1500 to $2500 per month.

Retired school principal Raul Ramirez also found real estate late in life. He rents out a triplex in the San Joaquin Valley and a house in Redmond, Oregon for $850 to $1700 per month.

Tamang and Ramirez are among the beneficiaries of the tech boom — a small group of residents who had the foresight and money to buy before prices got too high and now enjoy new income from their rentals. No one knows, how many residents this represents, but Daniel Faller, owner, and founder of “Apartment Owners Association of California” says “I do not see a trend taking place.”

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