San Diego Union Tribune - Opinion: Housing is a privilege in California with sky-high costs. This needs to change, now.

SAN DIEGO, CA - I never thought that having a child would cause me to become homeless. I was pregnant and working full-time at a minimum-wage job when my daughter was born. My job refused me paid parental leave, and as a single parent without the income to afford costly child care, I was forced to stay home to care for my infant child. This cost me my income and my ability to pay rent.

Within months, my landlord threatened to call the sheriff to evict me. My daughters and I became homeless. We didn’t even own a car to sleep in. For months, I stayed with friends, until we found an emergency women’s shelter.

When the women’s shelter told us after a year that we needed to leave to make room for other families, I was pushed back into the nightmare of trying to find housing we could afford. Between a security deposit and first and last month’s rent, I was being asked to come up with nearly $10,000 to find a home. Working minimum wage as a single parent doesn’t afford me the ability to have that kind of savings.

By a miracle, we finally found an apartment. It was a stretch financially, but for the last seven years, my daughters and I have been stable. Finally — no more shelters. No more couch surfing.

But in 2021, things changed.

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