In Costly Bay Area, Even Six-Figure Salaries Are Considered ‘Low Income’

By Annie Sciacca
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A new HUD survey reveals that in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, a family of four with an income of $105,350 per year is considered “low income.”

SAN JOSE, Calif.

In the high-priced Bay Area, even some households that bring in six figures a year can now be considered “low income.”

That’s according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which recently released its 2017 income limits, a threshold that determines who can qualify for affordable and subsidized housing programs such as Section 8 vouchers.

San Francisco and San Mateo counties have the highest limits in the Bay Area, and among the highest such numbers in the country. A family of four with an income of $105,350 per year is considered “low income.”

A $65,800 annual income is considered “very low” for a family the same size, and $39,500 is “extremely low.” The median income for those areas is $115,300.

Other Bay Area counties are not far behind. In Alameda and Contra Costa counties, $80,400 for a family of four is considered low income, while in Santa Clara County, $84,750 is the low-income threshold for a family of four.

The eye-popping numbers are harsh reality for Demetrio Gonzalez, a Richmond resident with multiple higher education degrees, including a master’s in education, who supports the work of approximately 1,700 educators in West Contra Costa Unified School District in his position as president of the United Teachers of Richmond. With an income of $48,000, it’s a challenge for him to live in the Bay Area. By the time he pays rent for a home he shares with four roommates, including teachers, along with student loans, food, travel, phone and car payments, he has about $300 left each month.

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