After reading New Times articles over the years on the homeless crisis and affordable housing, and experiencing my own difficulties, I concur that there is a crisis. I have been looking for a place to live now that is affordable, on the Central Coast, for more than three years.
I have been on Craigslist and had my fair share of mean roommates. Some would yell and bang on doors, or call me at work to say I left out a banana peel on the counter. This was unacceptable to me and so I sought out a "normal" roommate. But I have yet to find a situation worth getting back into.
I was sleeping in my car at times, and at times at ECHO Homeless Shelter. As a current USC grad school student, I am wondering where to draw the line. I need a place to live to be in classes, and to successfully work at my current job. I have been on waiting lists for apartments for some time. The shelter experience was a nightmare. All kinds of bodily processes were left unchecked by the people I was rooming with, and verbal abuse ensued.
Nevertheless, I was forced into the situation when my prior roommate kicked me out for a candle exploding in my room while I was meditating. Sleeping in motels, and in the car—I've seen too much of the effects of this crisis in my own personal experience! I also met a lot of working-class individuals who could not find a place to live. I kept hearing how "expensive" the Central Coast is to live on, but why is this the case?
Finally, I went to a City Council meeting to represent affordable housing for the working class in SLO County, or Paso Robles, specifically. I was met with a rather unimpressive proposal to reform the Hacienda Apartments, which is for the elderly. What does a working-class person do in this environment where there is no adequate housing? I have yet to find a place that is safe and permanent. The others, sleeping on the streets or in shelters, or moving away, are wondering the same thing. How long do we have to put up with no housing, and why isn't the community doing something about it?