For years, the fallout from the high cost of housing has been a staple of news coverage of California. The fact that the climbing costs have led the Golden State to have the highest percentage of impoverished residents in the nation. The awful “super commutes” that service workers have to undertake to get from distant suburbs where they can afford rent to San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The negative effects that such commuting has on the environment and on the state’s goals of much cleaner air. The increasing difficulty companies are having in attracting and retaining workers who know that home ownership may never be a realistic option for them in California. The stories about rent being so high that many college students — including 20 percent of those at California State University campuses — sometimes don’t have money for food.
Coverage of the crisis in recent years has broadened its focus from how it hammers low-income families to how it hammers even those with incomes that would be seen as middle and upper-middle class in much of America. The New York Times wrote in June that households in San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin Counties with four members and income of $117,400 or less were considered low income — the highest threshold in the nation — and were thus eligible for federal housing assistance. The threshold in most of Southern California, including San Diego, is around $77,000.