Got a Job in San Francisco? No Housing Assistance For You!

A couple of days ago, I posted about Replate, a movement in San Francisco to help feed the homeless that stirred an interesting discussion on Neatorama.

San Francisco, bless its heart, spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to help and house the extremely poor - but it ignores a large segment of its population who committed the big mistake of ... getting a job.

C.W. Nevius, a columnist for San Francisco Chronicle, wrote:

A family of four that makes more than $24,850 - which is 30 percent of San Francisco's average median income - will be unable to find any subsidized housing, according to local experts. Instead, the family can either cram into a tiny studio or flee the city - along with the better-paid teachers, firefighters and police officers who have already done so.

Unfortunately, all of these people made a single, critical mistake: They got a job.

In a system set up to lend a hand to those well under the poverty line, someone forgot to factor in the price of living in San Francisco. The San Francisco branch of ACORN, a national grassroots organization of low- and moderate-income people, says that 80 percent of those who receive subsidized housing in the city are making $17,400 or less for a one-person household.

So if a person finds a job at the city's minimum wage ($9.36 an hour) he's almost certainly out of luck when it comes to the city's vaunted housing assistance programs. Working a 40-hour week for 52 weeks a year, he will make over $19,000. Too much to get help.

Ask Jackie Phillips, a lifelong Bayview-Hunters Point resident whose son's family, including three children, recently moved in with her. Their problem? Both her son and his wife work.

"Their income is not low enough to qualify for the programs, but not high enough to buy at market rate," Phillips said. "So we're saying: Be all you can be, but don't be too much, or you will have to move out."


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I live in Riverside county, and as a single parent I make just a few hundred more then the limit for assistance of any kind, but I strugle with rent, food, gas and bills (no credit cards, no extras, medical insurance for my daughter, car insurance, etc). My rent alone, which is cheap by the area standards, still takes over half my monthly income.

I struggle to put food on the table for my daughter and gas in my car to continue working. I do not expect a handout, but what can you do when you cannot afford to move, and you cannot afford to live? I would take a second job, but cannot afford to pay someone to watch my toddler on the weekends (by the time I paid the sitter the money would be gone, plus more). The income level is based on gross, before they tax it, before the 300 a check garneshment comes out. I am doing the right thing, and it is killing me. I had social workers tell me to take a lower paid job to get assitance. Does that make sense? I have worked hard all my life, and I am not asking for a luxurious life. I just wish I could worry less about feeding and housing my daughter.
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Yeah, living in Georgia, I can't fathom the prices in California. I live in a very nice house in a nice neighborhood that cost my parents just under 200k. That might buy a shack in a bad neighborhood in California.
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