Video: Palo Alto couple speaks out against lack of affordable housing, pays $6,200 a month rent with another couple


PALO ALTO (KRON) — Six-figure incomes are abound in the Bay Area, but it is often not enough to pay the rent in pricey Palo Alto.

One couple has had enough and is moving out but not before speaking out about the skyrocketing cost of housing.

Meet Kate and Steve Downing. Kate is an attorney. Steve is an engineer.

If you think they are living the dream in their rented four-bedroom home in Palo Alto’s Ventura neighborhood, shared with another couple, you had better think again. EA5FD46DE984437287359C774E07BFEE

In a letter to the city council, Kate resigned from the city’s planning commission and pulled no punches in calling attention to the lack of affordable housing in Palo Alto.

“When you see that even professionals making good money who have good jobs, middle class, cannot afford to stay in Palo Alto, it gives you a sense for just how dire everything is here for everybody else,” Kate said.

The Downings’ and their roommates’ rent is $6,200 a month. The average rent in Palo Alto is about $3,500. The median priced home is about $1.2 million.

As she points out in her letter, buying their current home would likely cost them about $2.7 million or $146,000 a year.

The Downings want to start a family, so they are moving to Santa Cruz where housing is also extremely tight but only about half the cost of Palo Alto, where they say two “merely good jobs” is not good enough.

“What should have been people working together to help create a life for themselves, instead we’re competing against one another, and that’s not how it should be, and that’s not how it would be if zoning laws would loosen,” Steve said.

Watch the above video to see Rob Fladeboe’s full report.

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