The San Luis Obispo rental market can be very attractive for its location and the small college town feel.
With rent going up, some residents are making changes to stay within their budget and to continue to live their California dream.
“You pay a lot everywhere you live, so when you live out here at least you get to enjoy everything else,” said Ana Cinaglia, who is a massage therapist and lives in San Luis Obispo.
It is no secret that it can be an expensive dream to live on the Central Coast.
“Like $1,500 to $2,500 wherever you live out here,” estimated Cinaglia.
Cuesta College student Keke Petlachi shopped around until she found an opportunity.
“I got a pretty good deal, $1,200 for a house, and I found it because my mom’s friend is the landlord,” said Petlachi.
Cal Poly student Claire Dufrane cannot afford to live by herself.
“I'm also in a house, and I pay around $945 for a single room,” said Dufrane.
A national rental report by House Canary found that five California cities are among the top ten most expensive single family home rentals. According to the report, the top city is Los Angeles with median rent for a single family home at $4,664 per month.
Although San Luis Obispo is not on that list, the Central Coast is known for its high cost of living.
“With someone who only has one income and kids at home, if you’re working a minimum wage job, being able to afford a two, three bedroom home at this point is nearly impossible,” said 5Cities Homeless Coalition Associate Director Devon McQuade.
The House Canary Report found that the average national rent was $2,495, a 13.4% increase when compared to 2021.
“We're seeing one bedrooms going from $1,800 to $2,000, and if you’ve got a family and you’re looking for a two, three bedroom we’re looking at $2,500 to $3,000 a month,” added McQuade.
So how do people do it?
“We prefer to make our own food, so I think that helps a lot,” said Cinaglia.
For some college students, it is taking on that extra nanny job.
“I work two jobs and try to keep consistent with that, but I’m also a student, so sometimes, I need to get help from family,” explained Dufrane.
Even with affordable housing construction projects happening around town, the demand is simply too high.
“Even though there is Section 8 vouchers and low income housing opportunities, those waitlists are incredibly long, and if somebody does get a voucher, they still have to abide by fair market rent,” said McQuade.
During these financially challenging times, organizations such as 5Cities Homeless Coalition have resources.
“We make our best effort to keep people in their current housing, so that they don’t become homeless because it can be so much more expensive for a family to become homeless and not to mention the trauma to that family or wherever they need to stay in the interim whether it’s at a hotel or a shelter or doubled up with another family member,” said McQuade.
5Cities Homeless Coalition said the key for those struggling financially is asking for help before you miss a rental payment or utility bill.
For more information on assistance, which is available in both English and Spanish, you can call 5Cities Homeless Coalition at 805-574-1638.