California

One in Three California Families Doesn't Make Ends Meet: Report

A new report from the United Way of California is raising red flags for several Bay Area counties after it found one in three California families doesn’t make enough money to meet its basic needs.

A billboard in San Francisco reads "one job should be enough," but a single-income household doesn’t always cut it in California.

"At my age, if I get sick, if something happens, I'm through," said Stephen Tennis, 70, who came out of retirement and now works three jobs to make ends meet.

"I have enough money for two or three months' rent," Tennis said. "After that, I have no idea what would happen to me."

United Way of California’s latest report looked at households with full-time workers and factors in real cost measures like healthcare, transportation, food and rent.

They found that more than 25 percent of families in some parts of the Bay Area now fall below what is considered a decent standard of living.

In Alameda County, 28 percent of households fall below decent standards, in Contra Costa, 27 percent and San Mateo 23 percent of households.

"Six out of 10 children under the age of 6 are living in a household where they are struggling to meet real cost measure," said Pete Manzo, CEO of United Way.

Though unemployment may be at record lows, it says nothing of wages. Manzo also said the higher minimum wage helps but adds that more must be done.

Some political giants, like former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, say California is a high-cost state and much has already been done to help its most vulnerable.

"San Francisco is an example of what’s happening in California," said Manzo. "There are so many services, and opportunities, so many things that public pays for and as a result of that, the cost of everything reflects that."

The report found that education is a key factor in helping families - but that they also see a lag in educational benefits of most minority groups.

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