South San Francisco, Ca April 24, 2017
We knew housing costs were going up yet how many realized that $105K for a family of 4 would be considered low income by our federal government? The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published 2017 stats stating a family of 4 earning $105,350 is ‘low income’ and would be eligible for Public Housing, Section 8 vouchers, Section 202 for elderly and Section 811 for those disabled. Yet even with that distinction, who can find a landlord willing to offer low income housing? **(UDATE: to check other areas reviewed by HUD CLICK HERE)
Our local economy has witnessed soaring employment yet many of those positions are in support of those making the higher earnings, as perhaps it should be. However, with support workers earning minimum of $10.50 per the California Dept of Labor we realize how desperate many individuals and families have become to make ends meet. While most expect minimum wages to go to unskilled and/or entry level jobs we recognize many families are dependent on these jobs to bring food to the table each day. A union executive employee might pull down $135K and a union office manager might earn $40K annually according to payscale.com. And the retail sales associate or front desk clerk is most probably hitting $31K at fifteen bucks an hour. We are fortunate locally to have a good supply of better paying employment, thanks to our life science industry in the East Grand neighborhood, which has historically been the center of the area’s bread basket.
Recognizing education, experience, industry and other factors play into a person’s earnings we also cannot ignore the fact our middle class continues to be decimated. This trend has been crippling too many; numbers sited reflect real people. Perhaps this latest report will help us here in South City become a bit more patient, empathic even when our neighbors are doubling up on household members just to make the rent. When those with Section 8 vouchers reach out we can realize, yep, that can easily be any of us. Or it is us. Given the title ‘working poor’ while working 40 hour weeks, sometimes more than one job, and yet still left behind.
Factor in living costs as described in the chart below put out by San Mateo County, things like food, childcare, transportation and medical take a huge chunk out of whatever income we are able to generate.
This conundrum of high paying and low paying employment mixed with absorment housing costs continues to wreck havoc in our region, in our City, and in our neighborhoods. And the question remains; how do we bring back the middle class? This is where we need to come together in a bi-partisan manner, and work together for the benefit of our families, for our children, for our next generation as most of us continue to look for good deals to get by.