SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A new report sheds light on the housing crisis in the Bay Area and just how much someone needs to make to be able to afford to live in the region.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) annual report reveals that the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara region is the second most expensive in the country.
San Francisco ranks first.
According to the report, a minimum wage worker making $14 per hour would need to work approximately 141 hours per week to be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara County.
But many in the region can’t afford to pay rent by themselves and some would either need a roommate and multiple jobs to afford current rent prices.
“Once a human being gets above a certain number of hours at work they can no longer function and they begin to break down,” said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County.
“And that’s just not sustainable.”
Perry tells KRON4 News the affordable housing crisis worsened with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and the expansion of tech developments, like Google’s new Downtown West campus.
“I moved to San Jose in 1990 and so I’ve been here about 30 years and the rent has been going up ever since I got here,” said Perry.
“This is a completely unsustainable situation, our political leaders have not come up with solutions with very few exceptions, they have not come up with good solutions,” Perry added.
“Instead they’re going down the same road of unsustainable development.”
The South Bay, the heart of Silicon Valley, is home to a plethora of tech companies, including tech giants Facebook and Google.
As a result, employees from all over the globe have now settled in the Bay Area, some say a direct correlation to the spike in rent prices over the years.
The realistic affordable rent rate for a minimum wage worker is just $728 per month, according to NLIHC’s report.
“This is just the wrong way to go about this situation and I hold our city leaders responsible for this,” said Perry.
San Jose minimum wage renters have not feared mass evictions thanks to the federal, state and local eviction moratoriums.
City leaders recently extended the city’s eviction moratorium through August.
“Since the pandemic began last March we know that that has impacted our lowest-income residents who were already struggling pre-pandemic and the pandemic has just further burdened their struggles.” said Ragan Henninger, deputy director of the Housing Department for the City of San Jose.
“And they are not bouncing back as quickly as higher-income households as we start to recover from the pandemic.”
The city’s Housing Department estimates approximately 27,000 households are behind rent since the pandemic began.
Lack of affordable housing is also a factor.
KRON4 reported in October 2020 that the city said it was behind its goal of building at least 10,000 affordable units by 2022.
“We know that much more is needed and thanks to voter approval last year of Measure E, we have a dedicated source of funding to continue investing in the production of affordable housing,” said Henninger.
“We have thousands of units in our pipeline but the need is still urgent.”