City life worth paying the hefty price

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Jessica Nemire, journalism senior poses for a portrait in front of Painted Ladies Thursday, Oct. 8 (Imani Miller / Xpress)

Jessica Nemire, 4th year journalism major poses for a portrait in front of Painted Ladies, Thursday evening, Oct. 8 (Imani Miller / Xpress)
Jessica Nemire, 4th year journalism major poses for a portrait in front of Painted Ladies, Thursday evening, Oct. 8 (Imani Miller / Xpress)

Last week, I was dancing at a bar in the Castro on a Wednesday night with some friends and one of their cousins who was visiting from Utah. Around 11 p.m., one of my friends wanted to leave to go eat, but the cousin protested, saying, “I’m out dancing on a Wednesday. This doesn’t happen in Utah.”

I had a moment of gratitude for living in San Francisco. Living here, I can go dancing on weekday nights; there’s frequent free concerts and street fairs, and there are lots of unique restaurants and bars, despite the rapid expansion of clubs catering to moneyed millennials eager to spend their parents’ money on $13 cocktails filled with the rinds of various fruits.

Despite the increasing changes in the city, I still think San Francisco is an incredible place to live, and I plan to stay here for as long as I can afford to.

I’ve been in San Francisco for four years, and I’m convinced there’s no other city like it. However, with rent prices rising by the month and more and more techies moving here from Silicon Valley, spurring rapid gentrification in many neighborhoods, San Francisco is quickly gaining a bad reputation. Because of this, several of my friends are leaving the city or plan to do so after they graduate from college.

Since moving here in August 2011, I’ve never seen the housing market worse than it is right now. A one-bedroom apartment within 10 miles of San Francisco city limits costs $3,458 a month back in April, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, compared to $2,009 a month when I first moved here in 2011 according to Business Insider.

In the past month alone, my housemates and I have had five different friends crash in our tiny living room because they were unable to find an affordable living situation. One of them ended up moving to Guam to live with his extended family because he was evicted from his Excelsior home under the Ellis Act. After searching for another place in San Francisco for a month, he was unable to find anything he could afford.

I’ve been lucky with my housing situation. I live so far out on the edge of the city that sometimes buses don’t stop at my street and I have more housemates in my four-bedroom apartment than I can count on one hand, but the price I pay is almost nothing by San Francisco standards. If I lived somewhere more expensive, I’m not sure I could afford to continue living here, but I’m going to try for as long as I can. Because even though it’s changing its ways, San Francisco is one of the most unique cities in the world, and I’ll always love it for that.