The Housing Crisis in Silicon Valley

Author: Jefferson Ly     |     Published: June 4, 2019


As the living costs of the Sillicon Valley continue to rise, many people have found themselves facing the problem of securing housing. The Sillicon Valley is currently experiencing a huge housing crisis, largely due to the number of jobs offered in comparison to the housing that is available. This has driven up the cost of living within the city and pushed people within the lower class to move outside of the city in order to pay their rent.

Many residents whom once lived in San Jose have finally called quits and sold off their homes. Others continue to scrape by, working multiple jobs in order to pay their monthly rent. To get by, many people have decided to move to nearby areas such as Gilroy, Fremont, and Stockton. On the otherhand, some people simply can't afford to commute back and forth and live within their cars instead. Living in a vehicle allows them to be able to have a "safe" area to sleep.

According to an article by CBS News, "Housing experts say it's a problem of supply and demand. California officials estimate the state needs to build about 180,000 new housing units each year to keep up with population growth, but on average, developers are building less than 80,000 per year. The result? A current gap of 1.5 million units between families who need housing and rentals they can afford."

As the prices for housing increase, so do the number of people who are forced out onto the streets. Without a solid, stable, and decent income a house is simply not affordable to the lower and middle class. In addition to this, housing prices are continually increasing as large companies such as Google bring high demand, high paying jobs.

Video on the homeless crisis caused by the housing boom in the Silicon Valley, made by CBS.

Here is a piece of an article written by Michelle Chen, a contributor to "The Nation", titled: "If you're not part of the tech boom, good luck finding affordable housing."

"Silicon Valley is a boomtown for millennial “innovators,” but it can be a tougher neighborhood for longtime residents who aren’t benefiting from the area’s profits. With a Trump administration poised to gut federal-housing supports across the country, grassroots housing-justice groups in California’s tech heartland are struggling to eke out lower-income residents.

For years there has been a dramatic contrast between the concentrated wealth and political influence of the creative classes and the swelling homelessness epidemic in gentrifying cities like San Francisco and Oakland. Next door to the houses of young tech startup executives, families sleep in parked cars, while many workers must pay more in rent than they earn in wages. The Guardian recently reported that in East Palo Alto, one-third of schoolchildren are estimated to be homeless, meaning they have no secure form of shelter. More than 10,000 homeless people were stranded across San Jose and Santa Clara Counties last year on any given night, including hundreds of families with children. And that number doesn’t include the “hidden homeless,” the countless people without their own shelter who “double up” at friends’ houses. Sprawling homeless encampments dot the Bay, and the crisis is so endemic in some communities, activists have begun establishing homeless trailer camps in church parking lots.

Though some people experiencing homelessness suffer from drug abuse and mental illness, many others are ordinary working parents, excluded from the job market or priced out of the housing market. Though the speculative real-estate spiral has eased slightly in recent years, renters struggle against structural economic barriers. Some 70 percent of surveyed residents in San Jose cited high rent as the primary cause of homelessness. A growing proportion, 15 percent, report not only prohibitively high rent but total lack of available housing, up from 11 percent in 2011—suggesting that housing is moving from unsustainable to outright inaccessible."

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Below is an article by John McNellis of "Wolfstreet", discussing the housing crisis within the Silicon Valley.