San Francisco

Skyrocketing Prices Drive Single Mom to Rent San Mateo Garage for $1K a Month

Sara Bueno

Nicole Jones is raising her 18-month-old daughter in a single car garage in San Mateo.

Jones was pregnant with her little girl when she lost her job and her apartment. "This is pretty much all I could get," she told CNN. The tiny space, for which she pays $1,000 per month, includes a bathroom and stand-up shower.

San Mateo County rental prices are the second highest in the state behind San Francisco, with the cost of a two bedroom, one bathroom unit averaging over $2,500 per month in 2014, according to San Jose Mercury News. The average rose 16 percent in two years.

"I didn't know much about homelessness before," Jones said. "Honestly, I thought homeless people were panhandlers or people on the street that were hungry and cold and drug addicts and alcoholics who didn't want to do anything for themselves. I work and make decent money when I'm working. I think part of the reason why I became homeless is because finding work and daycare and transportation and everything combined just made it impossible for me to keep a roof over our head."

The CNN video shows the room, which includes a television set, a gas fire and a microwave.

Jones is now pregnant with a son. "I'm excited, nervous, frightened, sad. I don't know."

But she sees the lesson she's been given. "Did I think homelessness would happen to me? No. Am I glad that it happened to me? Yes. It did wonders."

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