SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — As a region, when it comes to housing, the Bay Area is past the breaking point for so many. So what happens when a novel coronavirus threatens to shut down schools? It places even more pressure on those who are barely making ends meet.
“I’m not affording it, over half of my paycheck goes into my rental costs,” educator Aileen Young said. She’s rent burdened in San Francisco and worries any additional pressure could push her out of the city.
“To try to pay a majority of your salary into rent, means that everything else has to be like, a numbers game,” Young said.
“If the schools shut down and parents working minimum wage jobs have to stay home with their kids, there’s a good chance they won’t make their rent payment. What happens then?” asked Ray Bramson, Chief Impact Officer with Destination Home in San Jose.
Nonprofits across the country are increasingly concerned about families that are already in the midst of a housing crisis may soon be impacted by a health crisis.
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COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
The woman also was the first person in Santa Clara County confirm
“I absolutely think something like this, which keeps people from being able to go to work, keeps people in the gig economy from being able to do their jobs every day to make a living, I think there is a high chance if things get out of hand, more will be at risk of homelessness,” Bramson said.
The homeless are another focus for nonprofits, especially when the message from officials is to “wash your hands frequently,” but for those who don’t have access to soap or running water, it’s not a reasonable expectation. In encampments, diseases can spread more quickly. Many of the region’s homeless are elderly and at higher risk when it comes to their health.
“We have 9,700 people on the streets in Santa Clara County right now, we have a lot of very ill people already who need permanent supportive housing, we have a lot of work to do,” Bramson said.
Bramson says his team is working with local partners to prevent things from compounding so if coronavirus does impact families on the edge, they stand a fighting chance.
“When you introduce an outside factor, something that’s completely unexpected, it throws off their entire plan and their entire system that they’re using to just barely hang on,” Bramson said.