The vast majority of Silicon Valley workers are not tech geeks or venture capitalists, despite what the world may think, but rather everyday people making less than $50,000.
According to a report out last week by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California and Urban Habitat, our roadways are increasingly congested with commute traffic because those workers have to commute from areas that are more affordable to live.
The report, “Moving Silicon Valley Forward,” found that regional plans for housing and transportation do not account for the needs of this workforce, which comprises 67 percent of all jobs there.
Also at odds, according to the study, is the availability of homes, let alone affordable ones. There is only one home available for every three jobs in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, and those that are available are generally priced too high for most workers to afford.
In 2010, the average Silicon Valley auto commuter lost a total of 37 hours sitting in their car.
“When people think of Silicon Valley they don’t think about retail clerks, restaurant workers, health care aides, security guards or other service workers,” said Dianne Spaulding, Executive Director of the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California (NPH). “They are equally essential to the region’s vitality yet local planning does not reflect their most important needs: housing that matches their incomes, and transit options for their commutes.”
In Santa Clara County, nearly 30 percent of workers who drive in from outside of town earn less than $40,000, according to the study. In San Mateo County, the number is 45 percent. For workers in that income bracket, and based on a rent level of $1,200, the two counties are short nearly 53,000 homes.
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