More than one in three school children in East Palo Alto — the low-income city pegged next to the heart of the Silicon Valley— are homeless, as skyrocketing rents are pushing out families and school staff.
The community has traditionally been a mark of stark inequality in the valley, with one of the highest murder rates in the country and under-resourced schools despite neighboring some of the highest-scoring public schools in the state.
With Facebook expanding its headquarters into city limits and pushing out residents as its employees are moving in, the makeup of the city is changing. Over 1,000 children, most of them from Mexican American and African American families, are now living in shelters and RV parks.
It is believed Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has pumped money into building affordable housing and creating literacy and leadership initiatives, according to the Guardian, but Gloria Hernandez-Goff, the superintendent of the Ravenswood City school district, told the paper that the problems are structural. The root of the issue are housing shortages, wage stagnation and inequality, she said.
While families are considering moving to cheaper areas like the farmer-populated Central Valley, the Guardian reported that many could not find jobs. Teachers and school administrators, too, are struggling to live in the area.
WATCH: The Real USA – Housing Prices in Silicon Valley