Donald Foster, a respected journalist and community activist who has worked in Oakland and the Bay Area for decades, is himself now facing eviction and fears that he could become the next homeless statistic, joining countless others who are living under bridges or on a highway median. Foster, who is a retired disabled veteran, has been living in a basement unit in a West Oakland home for three years.
He said that after a series of disputes with his landlord over the conditions of the unit, the landlord began refusing to accept Foster´s monthly rent payments and has now sent him an eviction notice.
Though he has legal advice and lawyers helping him, he says it is only a matter of time until he is on the street. He is seeking help from community members to find a new place to live.
“This is not an unusual situation,” he said. “The people who have been giving me support say this is a fairly common occurrence for a neighborhood, like West Oakland, that is being gentrified.”
Contacted by the Oakland Post, Foster´s landlord, who lives on the property, referred questions to her attorney but declined to provide the attorney’s contact information.
A radio journalist since 1974, Foster served as public affairs director at radio station KPFA. He was reporting from Grenada in 1983 when the U.S. under President Ronald Reagan invaded the Caribbean socialist nation. Foster was kicked out of Grenada by the U.S. military. He received a national award from National Public Radio (NPR) for his production, “The Fall of the Grenadian Revolution.” He helped start the media studies program at New College of California, based in San Francisco.
He worked with others to set up the Third World News Bureau in East Oakland, which reported on Oakland and trained journalists for KPFA.
While finishing a degree in African American studies at UC Berkeley, Foster founded the African American Theme House, also known as the Afro House, a co-op living residence that is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the years, he has also worked for Global Exchange and helped San Francisco University High School establish an innovative student diversity program.
Foster said he welcomes comments or suggestions about possible living arrangements at [email protected]