“ROOM FOR RENT”

It’s been officially acknowledged and certified by the Lost Coast Journal that we indeed have a housing shortage, if not a crisis, on the North Coast.  Apparently something like 500 students who started school in August are still looking for  housing.  That is ridiculous!  Why hasn’t a public health crisis been declared?   What is HSU doing about it??? Many unanswered questions. 

I rent out my extra room and bath. I resisted it for years,  then got smart.  A tenant solves a lot of problems.  An extra hand for heavy chores, someone to watch the dog when I’m out of town, lots of advantages. Plus the extra income is like crack; you are instantly addicted.  What’s puzzling to me is that with all the shortage talk,  the PRICE for a room hasn’t really gone up at all.  I charge $600 for a furnished room with private bath,  in a decent area. I’ve only seen  a couple of ads on Craig’s List that want more for a room.  So the law of supply and demand doesn’t seem to be applicable.  

Craig’s List is always a good read.  It’s amazing how many folks want to rent a room for nothing  or “work in exchange for rent”. Who does that except for growers? I usually don’t have to list my vacancy.  I just scan Craig’s lIst for people looking for housing  who sound reasonable.

Anyway, my new tenant is moving in this week.   Happy New Year!

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The Cost Of Living IS Too Damn High

You’ve certainly heard by now that Social Security recipients, including SSI recipients, aren’t getting a cost-of-living increase this year, a fairly rare occurrence.  Apparently the way they calculate the cost of living gives great weight to the cost of gasoline,  which hasn’t risen much in the last couple of years while everything else has skyrocketed.

All I know is that at Winco, a lot of the stuff I buy has increased by at least 50% from a couple of years ago.  Broccoli used to be $.99 a pound, now it’s often $1.99. Tuna used to be $.59, now it’s $.89. It all adds up.

My cousin,  also a retiree, shared with me the following statistics from EPI. Bloomberg and the USDL.:

Since 1978, the cost of college tuition has increased by 1,120%.

Medical care has increased by 601%

Food has increased by 244%

Shelter has gone up by 380%.

MEANWHILE the pay of typical workers rose by just 10%

The pay of minimum wage workers fell by 5.5%

And the pay of average CEO’s increased by 937%.

No wonder everyone’s feeling squeezed, whether on a “fixed income”  or not. I really feel for the many folks who have no other income and hope that Sen Elizabeth Warren’s bill or some other fix will be appllied, and soon.  For those who, like me, have other sources of income, it’s just an annoyance  but it cannot be denied that increased discrepancies between income and expenses force more people into homelessness. The rent IS too damn high.

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Home Values Compared

Here, courtesy of Zillow and the HSU Economic Index, are some figures to ponder.

Current Median Home Value US:  $180,100

Current Median Home Value Humboldt County:  $251,950

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Humboldt County: $340,000 briefly in Jan 2008

Current Median Home Value Sacramento:  $339,600

ALL TIME HIGH Median Home Value Sacramento:  $442,300 in December 2005

Current Median Home Value San Jose:  $894,700

Hopefully you didn’t buy in Sac in 2005.  Take heart: you can still get houses in Cleveland for less than $70K. Hey, if it’s good enough for Michael Symon…

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Craig’s List Ads That No One Will Respond To

Here, without comment,  are genuine “Housing Wanted” ads that have appeared within the past year on our local Craig’s List. They are transcribed exactly as they appeared.  Enjoy!

“Need free space for band practice.”

“Looking for room for couple with two toddlers and a dog. Must have hi-speed internet for  our business and space for homeschooling kids. Also RV parking.  Can pay $300.”

“Chill dude looking to settle in Humboldt. Will have to work for rent since I don’t have any cash. “

“Homeless student entrepuner (sic) with four dogs, two ponies.”

“Fun couple seeks room.”

“I wanna live with couscous(sic), real farmers.”

“WANTED: HOUSE FOR PARTY”

“I’m 20 turning 21 this year and have experience working with people but my life revolves around bud. “

“Viking Pagan needs place to live.”

“Occultist seeks new magickal (sic) space.”

“looking for a house to rent for 2-3 weeks till my rental house comes available. i have a small dog, trained, also i will have two house guests for the next 6 days till they fly home. need a place by tomorrow.”

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