Watch CBS News

Study finds Santa Cruz County to be one of the least affordable places in California

Study finds Santa Cruz County to be one of the least affordable places in California
Study finds Santa Cruz County to be one of the least affordable places in California 03:53

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY -- The annual study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition -- which compares an area's minimum wage to the average cost of renting an apartment -- found that Santa Cruz County was one of the least affordable places in the state and country.

Santa Cruz County narrowly edged out San Francisco, Santa Clara and Monterey counties for the dubious distinction.

"Recently, I've noticed that the prices have gone way up," said resident Brianna Heredia, who recently moved to Santa Cruz after graduating from UC Berkeley.

Heredia -- who lives with her boyfriend -- was exploring the possibility of moving into a large, two-bedroom apartment but found the price of rent too expensive.

"It was almost $5,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, which is just crazy especially for people our age. It's hard to even imagine affording something like that," she said.

The Coalition's study determined that statewide in California someone earning minimum wage would need the equivalent of nearly three full-time jobs to afford the rent. In Santa Cruz County, the study's authors found a renter earning minimum wage would need more than four full-time jobs.

"They are a lot of low-income workers who don't earn enough for a two-bedroom apartment. They don't earn enough even for a one-bedroom or a studio," said Andrew Aurand, Senior Vice President and the Coalition's Research Director.

Aurand says the study not only documents the crisis of affordable housing nationwide, he says it's a pain index of sorts. He says the more money that's spent on rent, the less that's available for everything else.

"Low-income families who spend more than half of their income on rent spend less on food. They spend less on educational activities for their children. They spend less on other necessities just to afford the roof over their heads," he said.

Brianna says she going to stick it out for as long as she can. And as tough as it is to afford the rent, she says it's even tougher to afford homeownership.

"I would love to live here. I would love to be able to buy a home here, because I love it and I want to surf everyday, and to have a home here is a dream of mine. But I don't know how I could make that happen," she said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.