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Feds: $100,000 'Low Income' In Parts Of Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – New figures from the federal government finds in parts of the Bay Area, some people who bring in a six-figure income can be considered "low-income."

Edward Apana of South San Francisco - married, with 2 children - says the cost of living in the Bay Area is a challenge. So to hear that six-figures is now considered "low income" is a bit shocking, but not that hard to believe.

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"Between the two of us, we can still make San Francisco, San Mateo County home," Apana told KPIX 5 "If one of us were to lose our job, it would be kind of tough."

The new numbers come from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and specifically have to do with eligibility for government assistance for housing.

HUD says a family of four in San Francisco or San Mateo County with an income of 105,350 is now considered "low income." For Alameda and Contra Costa County, $80,400 is considered low income.

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"These are certainly dramatic numbers," said Michael Bernick, former director of the state Employment Development Department.

Bernick said the drama stems from positive economic indicators.

Unemployment, for example, is four percent or lower in most Bay Area counties. In San Francisco, the unemployment rate is down to 3 percent; in San Mateo County, it is even lower.

Also, of the 19,000 jobs created in the state last month, 13,000 were here in the Bay Area.

Bernick: "We're just creating a lot of jobs."

KPIX 5: "We're a victim of own success?"

Bernick: "That's part of it. And, part of the broader housing dynamic in terms of the desire of people to live here."

The main housing dynamic? Not enough affordable housing.

"If I didn't have any family here and my kids didn't have any friends, we may be living somewhere else," Apana said. "People think we're crazy. It is what it is, but we call it home."

The Bay Area's HUD income limits are the highest of any metropolitan area in the country. By comparison, in Seattle $72,000 a year is "low income" for a family of four. And in Boston, it's about $78,000.

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