My girlfriend and I spent three months this summer searching for an apartment. We saw over two dozen one-bedrooms, most for more than $2,200 a month, and almost all of them completely horrible. We're talking shag carpet, mold, and converted garages with no windows. Even the worst places we saw drew crowds. The open houses were like some twisted beauty contest where you had five minutes to tell your entire life story, woo the landlord, and leave everyone else in the dust. Emil Meek puts it perfectly: the process “turns you into a monster.”
I met Meek and his girlfriend Alma Freeman outside of a packed open house in Potrero Hill...Meek is a landscaper and Freeman works for a non-profit downtown. They have great credit and collectively earn $110,000 a year, but they still can't find a place. Freeman says “it feels a little bit like you are looking on the sidelines and not really able to compete.” The desperation of the search has made them manic. They are arriving to open houses as much as an hour early, peeking into the windows to try and scope the place out, and doing everything in their power to get their application in before anyone else. (Listen to the audio or read the full text here)
And from Stephanie Martin's story today on the proposal by San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener to allow construction of apartment units as small as 220 square feet, here's another little taste of what has become middle-class living for some:
Thirty-one-year-old Andy Huang moved to San Francisco from New York City a couple of months ago and, although he has a good job in tech, he's living with three roommates in a two-bedroom apartment.
His roommate, Leo, lives in what was probably once a pantry. The other two roommates have the real bedrooms. And, once upon a time, Huang's room was a living room.
"So, as you can see there's no closet," Huang laughed.
Clothes hang on a set of parallel bars in the corner. Contact lens cases, deodorant and other toiletries adorn the fireplace mantel. There's no sofa, no desk -- a laptop sits on the bed.
"Yeah, this is definitely not for everyone," said Huang. "People would be frustrated by the fact that this room has no closet, and there's four guys sharing a bathroom." (Listen to the audio or read the full text of the story here)
In light of this increase in the "I-went-to-Stanford-and-this-is-what-I-can-afford?" scale, today we ask you: Just how bad is it, really? Tell us your story about looking for a place in San Francisco, and we may publish it on the blog or contact you for a follow-up story on people who have given up and moved to South Dakota. Plus it'll feel good for you to vent to your local public radio station.
Use the form below...