'It’s a catastrophe': low-income workers get priced out of California beach city

At first, Jamie Kahn tried ignoring the repeated knocks on her front door. It was September 2015, and the 52-year-old Santa Cruz woman had recently faced an unexpected 40% rent increase that she could not afford.

After missing a rent payment, her new landlords in the northern California beach city quickly moved to evict the single mother and her two children. Kahn thought that if she refused to open the door and accept a summons, she could bide some time to fight the increase from $1,400 to $2,000 a month. She was wrong.

Court records show that a process server repeatedly showed up, and the Kahns ultimately had no choice but to vacate their home of six years. Her 22-year-old daughter subsequently moved into a small back porch room in a neighboring city. Her 19-year-old son crashed on couches. Kahn, meanwhile, moved into her black 1995 Camry station wagon – where she has been sleeping ever since, often stationed in Walmart parking lots.

“California is a monster. If you don’t keep up, you end up on the streets, and nobody cares,” said Kahn, a college graduate who previously worked two jobs in Santa Cruz. “This is a public health issue. It’s a catastrophe.”

Remember that Palo Alto attorney who caused a stir by posting her resignation letter? She and her husband moved to Santa Cruz. I wonder if she replaced any long time resident like Khan…

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I knew PA would get the blame…lol

The Mayor of PA should be sentenced to a year of living in a car at the Wallmart parking lot…lol…it would be good sensitivity training. …and be forced to work as a greeter…

The Palo Alto couple moved into this home:


2700+ sqft for $1550k… quite a deal considering it’s 1 street behind the ocean front (West Cliff Dr).
The same house on West Cliff Dr could’ve been 2.5M. The houses on West Cliff behind this one are mostly fully built out (2 stories), therefore they seem not to enjoy ocean views but it’s a good location otherwise.

I don’t think that they displaced a poor renter. The property had been a rental in the past but not since it sold 11 months ago.

Regarding the SC tenant who got a rent increase. The article mentions that she has 2 grown-up sons (one is 19). So this was probably a spacious 2-bedroom place. There are very, very few places where you can get such a place for under $2000. She was way under market paying $1400. To put things in perspective, I rent a 2-BR for $2300 and have not raised rent in 3+ years… neighbor collects $2700 for the same type 2-BR. Remodeled 2-BRs go for even more.

And, we don’t know, but she may have been in a 3-BR for $1400!

That said, the article is correct that we do have a problem here in Santa Cruz. Limited local incomes and limited local employment opportunities, limited space, very few new units, resistance against high-rises along the major arteries… it’s not good. I reviewed a few multi-family units yesterday and found a family of 4 living in 400 sqft. Caucasian, by the way. Now I recall some other units (different neighborhood) that had even more people in smaller units.

Not good.

The article did say they are trying to build more? But the number of planned units is tiny though.

Opportunity for investment or you prefer to be a saint?

How much rent are they likely paying?

They don’t rent. They closed escrow 4 weeks ago… 1550k purchase price, 20% down and 1.2M mortgage. Their cash housing cost before taxes is probably higher than renting the same unit which I am guessing would go for $5000/mo

For 1.55M they could have bought a 2k feet townhouse in PA… And for 500K more an SFH.

So the news they “can’t” afford a house in PA is overblown…

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As someone noted in the other thread… had they moved for affordability, they would’ve gone to East Bay.
The real reason would be something else, the other poster hinted.

Public record shows that the woman has a Russian first name. Maybe they simply like Santa Cruz better.

I love Capitola. But Hwy 17 scares me.

If you go to Capitola, then get off at Summit. You also avoid 1 which seems to always have traffic.

Capitola was my go-to beach when I live in San Jose. Now that I moved to SF I am at a loss. I’ve been to Pacifica a couple times. The beach is not nearly as nice in Pacifica and in summer it’s super foggy and freaking cold. Who wants to go to a gloomy cold beach? Not me.



There’s plenty of sunny beach from Point Conception south to Tijuana and beyond.

Send us a postcard. :slight_smile:

So, Germans and Russians have a love of Santa Cruz in common? :smile:

Remember what I said about planners?

This PA planner:


Just got this award: