Page 34

talk/housing

Priced Out As the city struggles to find solutions, where do you go when Walnut Creek has been your home for twenty years? BY ANI TASCIAN

Imagine the unimaginable. Your husband’s longstanding small business begins to attract fewer and fewer customers until he’s forced to close. You’ve never worked outside his business and at age 58, you take a job as a nanny. Then, in short succession, you lose your home and your husband to lung cancer. He doesn’t have a retirement fund. Neither do you. Suddenly, you’re a renter, just as all the tech companies roll into town. Real estate prices seem to double over the next ten years, affecting your adult children as they buy their first homes. Your kids can’t afford to help you financially. This was not at all how you imagined life at 70. And yet many senior renters find themselves in a similar predicament today in the Bay Area. According to the City of Walnut Creek, 65% of seniors cannot afford to pay 30% of their income

32

walnut creek / summer 2018

for a one-bedroom unit. Walnut Creek’s 2017 Housing Affordability Survey reveals 52% of respondents agree that there is not enough housing in the city to meet the needs of the community, and 69% believe the available housing is not affordable. In official circles, the “g-word” or gentrification is only whispered. It’s a hot and controversial topic, particularly in a prodevelopment community. But the process of renovating rundown buildings and creating an environment for the influx of more affluent residents is the definition of gentrification. While upgrading can improve the quality of a community, it also has the effect of forcing, established residents and businesses out to seek lower cost housing and shopping. According to the city’s Housing and Development Department, although there are approximately 12,000 rentals in Walnut Creek, from 2011 to 2017 rents have risen 55.1%, leaving many low-income senior renters, and others, with limited options. Only 450 apartments in the city are slotted as low-income and they’re full. And waiting lists are impossibly long or just plain closed. ➤

Profile for Walnut Creek Magazine

Walnut Creek Magazine Summer 2018  

Walnut Creek Magazine Summer 2018  

Advertisement

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded