apartment requires
122-hour workweek

Thursday July 04, 2002

According a National Low Income Housing Coaliton's 2001 report, rent for a one-bedroom occupancy in Alameda County is $991. Assuming that rent is no more than 30 percent of a person’s living costs, at minimum wage, a person would have to work 122 hours a week to pay rent. To make rent in 40 hours, a person must earn $19 an hour. 

With the homeless shelters full, and people being ticketed for sleeping outside, said Michael Diehl of Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency (BOSS). “There's just no place anymore.”  

The misconceptions surrounding the homeless also contribute to the problem, McCradie said. She urges people not to label the homeless. “I can't see anything positive about 'cattle-izing' a group of people, and further separating the homeless from society,” said activist Nancy McCradie. 

The media often portrays the homeless as outlaws, said Chance Martin, project coordinator with San Francisco-based Coalition on Homelessness, and said that this unfair depiction only creates more hardship. The media presents the lowest, most destitute, and most visible group of people, he said, and fails to mention that 40 percent of the homeless in San Francisco shelters have jobs. “Most homeless people I know are not different than you and me, they just don't have a home,” Martin said.