In 2015, the senseless Bay Area murders of twenty-three-year-old Audrey Carey and sixty-seven-year-old Steve Carter were personal tragedies for the victims’ families. But they also shed light on a more complex issue. The killers were three drifters scrounging for a living among a burgeoning counterculture population. Soon this community of runaways and transients became vulnerable scapegoats of a modern witch hunt. The supposedly progressive residents of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, only two generations removed from the Summer of Love, now feared all of society’s outcasts as threats.
In Those Who Wander, Vivian Ho delves deep into a rising subculture that’s changing the very fabric of her city and all of urban America. Moving beyond the disheartening statistics, she gives voices to these young people—victims of abuse, failed foster care, mental illness, and drug addiction. She also doesn’t ignore the threat they pose to themselves and to others as a dangerous dark side emerges. With alarming urgency, she asks what can be done to save the next generation of America’s vagabond youth.
“Former San Francisco Chronicle criminal justice reporter Ho takes to the streets of the Bay Area and other urban regions of the country to show readers how children are surviving on the streets without parental supervision, housing, or employment…[giving] readers an empathetic overview of life as a homeless youth in America.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Ho searches for answers about the murders but also about the reasons so many kids end up on the street, and what can be done about it…Ho raises interesting questions that make this a successful starting point for an important conversation.” —Booklist
“At the start of the book, Ho makes clear that the work offers no answers to the homelessness crisis. Those Who Wander is less a blueprint for solutions than a necessary mouthpiece for the young who are in desperate need of help. At the very least, Ho hopes it inspires a sense of compassion.” —San Francisco Chronicle
Vivian Ho is an award-winning journalist who works for the Guardian. She has written for has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, Marie Claire, and the Boston Globe. Raised in New England, she currently lives in San Francisco.
This is a fundraising event for the Shelter, Inc., serving the homeless in Contra Costa County.