Bay Area

Kids of the Silicon Valley Housing Crisis

Seventeen-year old Gabriel Trujillo lived in the same two-bedroom Mountain View home his entire life. Every day he came home to his mom, dad, and older brother.

Yet in January 2016, that house was no longer his home. The homeowners told his family the land was being placed for sale and they would need to find another place to rent.

Gabriel’s parents paid $1,200 a month for close to two decades. But with the Silicon Valley housing explosion, rents are rapidly rising and the family is now priced out of their neighborhood.

Now, the average price for a two-bedroom in Mountain View is over $3,100.

Getty Images

A three-month search for housing left the Los Altos High School senior with a lot of questions.

"Are we gonna move far away? Am I going to have to transfer schools? Am I going to lose friends?" Gabriel questioned.

In order to stay together in Mountain View, the family had to separate.

Gabriel now lives at his grandmother's house while his dad lives in a trailer, and his mom rents a room in a mobile home. He visits his mom after school a couple days a week.

"He comes over here on my day off to see me once or two days in a week," said Juana Alvarez, Gabriel's mom. "It's very terrible."

The separation has been hard for Gabriel as well.

"It's definitely been one of the toughest years of my life that I can really say because... it kind of just shook up everything and it was real stressful," Trujillo said. "There’s definitely just a lot of tears from the loss of all this stuff."

The Mountain View Tenants Coalition says many long-term families are being forced out of the area. The housing crisis has been extremely hard on children, especially kids whose parents don't speak English.

"Their children are acculturated, they know English, and are often having to translate eviction notices on behalf of their parents," said Evan Ortiz, Mountain View Tenants Coalition spokesperson. "That's not something that's appropriate for a middle schooler or even a high schooler."

Families like Gabriel's now have to struggle to make ends meet or to find affordable places to live. The financial difficulty has already made Gabriel's plans after high school a greater challenge.

"We had more of a solid ground, say if we were still living here, but since that's not there, definitely having to look into scholarships, a lot of funding like FAFSA and stuff of that sort," said Gabriel. "That's why I've said I need to get a job so I can as well find my own living space. So it's definitely put a big impact on a lot of things."

Gabriel’s mom, Juana Alvarez, explains her challenge searching for housing and how difficult living separately has been for her and her family.
Contact Us