Is The Cost of Living in SF Hurting the Quality of Gay Life?

(Opinion): In the last two weeks there have been a few interesting articles that although not directly related address a common theme of the extreme high cost of housing in San Francisco. Two articles were on SF Gate and one was in the Huffington Post.

The Huffington Post article "These 2 Cities Are Now Exclusively For Rich People" by Kevn Short makes the statement that in the past 20 years that San Francisco "has changed from a diverse melting pot to an exclusive playground for the rich."

The second article was found under SF Gate in the "Inside Scoop" section and written by Paolo Lucchesi and commented that San Francisco's restaurant scene is having a hard time finding cooks. This article addresses the fact that the median price of an apartment in San Francisco is approximately $3,400 per month...or a staggering $40,800 per year. The average annual starting wage of a chef is approximately $27,000. At a salary of $27,000 per year the $40,800 per year in rent is imminently not affordable.

The third article was also under SF Gate and it was about the average wages for retail workers in San Francisco. Once again it was about wages for this segment of the working population ($27,000 to $28,000 on average) versus the cost of renting a simple one bedroom apartment.

Consequently one has to wonder how this high cost of living is affecting the gay population as well as the gay quality of life here in San Francisco. Not all us gay people want to be techies in social media and make the salaries that are driving this wildly insane cost of living. Most of us are professionals in other industries such as banking, manufacturing, distribution. There are also a whole bunch of us that are working in the restaurant and bar industry. No one is making the type of money that can make $40,800 per year in rent achievable.

The City has ended up with a population frozen in their rent control apartments living in fear of an Ellis Act eviction which would put them on the street because there is nowhere else to go.

Is the gay population shrinking? Is the diversity of gay life shrinking? Has the cutting edge of gay life in San Francisco been dulled by the assault of gentrification? I think these three questions are worth exploring further.

By: John Lysdahl

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