Bay Area trend: The rise in housing prices

Rent prices in the Bay Area have continued to rise, and they have resulted in record-breaking home prices. This high cost has impacted many families and a number of Skyline College students.

Skyline College and the San Mateo County Community College District are aware of rent costs and have been working on alternative housing methods for staff in addition to making sure that there are resources located on campus.

Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, vice president of instruction at Skyline and a member of the board of directors for the Human Investment Project (HIP) Housing, spoke about the importance of this issue.

“Affordable housing should be everyone’s concern,” Taylor-Mendoza said. “A community that cares, is a community that thrives … It is important for me to advocate, educate and partner with local agencies, school districts and nonprofits to keep this issue at the forefront of all conversations.”

Taylor-Mendoza continued to share her perspective on how the cost of living in the Bay Area is an issue that faces students and faculty.

“The rise in housing costs threatens the economy and individuals’ quality of life,” said Taylor-Mendoza.“We are experiencing a crisis and the struggle is real for numerous families in various municipalities.”

While Taylor-Mendoza continued to explain how this situation could affect families, cause stress, and in result, negatively impact their health, she also talked about what the district is doing to help students and faculty cope with this.

“For faculty and staff, in response to regional housing costs, the San Mateo County Community College District owns and operates 104 housing units at the College of San Mateo and Cañada College campuses,” said Taylor-Mendoza. “Skyline College housing units are currently being built. These units are available to faculty and staff. Employees are eligible to live in these units for up to seven years.”

Skyline College does not currently offer housing for students but is aware that this is an issue for students as well.

In addition, programs at Skyline like SparkPoint offer financial literacy, financial coaching and have a food pantry in order to provide help for students who might be struggling.

SparkPoint Director Chad Thompson, spoke about the resources that SparkPoint provides and the different reasons students might come into the center including financial coaching and saving up for housing.

“What I see, and what I hear from my staff, is there is multi-generational housing, meaning students living with various members of their family, or extended family is extremely common and necessary because of the high cost,” Thompson said.

Thompson, and SparkPoint see many students who have an interest in moving out for reasons such as frustration with family members, and they try to come up with a plan, but students are often left discouraged because of the lack of affordable housing.

SparkPoint and Skyline see the problem and they want to do more, Thompson said. But there is no plan in the works to help students specifically with housing.

Joseph Canta, a Skyline College student studying respiratory therapy, has taken time off in order to be able to live with his girlfriend, and even then he has additional roommates and finds himself struggling. Canta along with many others are disappointed that there is no rent control in the Bay Area.

“Bay Area rent prices are crazy high,” Canta said. “It affects me and students because instead of focusing on education, we [have] got to focus on paying debt and rent. It makes me think that we need to have a masters degree to even afford to live in the Bay Area.”