High Cost Of Living In The TLMay 21st, 2008
by Matt Eggers
Mmmm, that jetsetting eggplant in Jen’s last post does look delicious. As she points out though, good produce like this is a hard that in the Tenderloin. Save for the Farmer’s Market and a handful of small bodegas, our neighbors have very few options when it comes to nutritious food options.
What’s more, low-income families in neighborhoods like the Tenderloin actually pay more for groceries and other basic necessities than higher-income households. According to a recent Brooking Institution study, millions of low-income consumers in metropolitan areas like San Francisco pay higher prices for things like household items, financial services, and groceries. These extra costs often add up to thousands of dollars unnecessarily spent by lower-income families each year.
It’s no wonder that the majority of Tenderloin households–56%–don’t earn what the United Way defines as a sustainable income: enough to cover the cost of rent, food, child care, healthcare, transportation, and other necessities. Because the cost of living in poor neighborhoods like the Tenderloin is actually higher. In fact, as the Brookings study points out, reducing the cost of living for lower income families by just one percent would add up to over $6.5 billion in new spending power for low-income families across the country.
While I’m no resident economist, it seems counterintuitive that our poorest neighbors should pay the most for basic necessities. And this is why St. Anthony’s makes sense. We can’t necessarily lower the cost of living in the Tenderloin, but we do help ease the burden for poor working families by connecting them with free resources like food, clothing and healthcare–things that would otherwise be out of reach for so many of our poor and homeless neighbors.