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Even a housing official in Silicon Valley can’t afford to live there

The harsh reality of Silicon Valley

Aside from being a product attorney at a tech firm, Kate Downing also served as a planning and transportation commissioner for Palo Alto – a position in which she pushed city officials to build more housing and pass pro-development policies that could help solve the growing affordability crisis, according to an article in The Guardian by Sam Levin.

Problem is, even as a housing official in Silicon Valley, Kate and her husband Steve, who works as a software engineer, can’t afford to live there.

The article explained that Kate Downing took to Medium to announce her formal resignation from the Palo Alto planning and transportation commission.

From The Guardian:

The letter, which has spread on social media, sheds light on a harsh reality of the intensifying housing crunch that the California tech boom has greatly exacerbated in recent years. That is, home prices have skyrocketed so dramatically that even high-paid tech workers benefiting from the thriving local economy are choosing to relocate to cities where they can comfortably raise children without pouring a huge percent of their income into housing.

“If even people like me can’t remain in the heart of Silicon Valley, it tells you just how awful the situation is for everyone else,” Kate said in a phone interview. “It gives us an indication of how much suffering there is out there.”

This personal account exemplifies stories that have continuously come out about the area.

Frederick Kuo, a San Francisco-based real estate broker recently said in an article in Quartz that as more people prosper in Silicon Valley, it pushes more people out who can’t afford the outrageous, and growing, costs of the city, leaving behind an “alarming housing crisis and astronomical rise in socio-economic inequality.”

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