The "mystery" of the homeless families

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The Chron's having a hard time figuring out why there are so many more homeless families looking for help.

"It's been difficult to pin down any kind of trend," said Elizabeth Ancker, assistant program director at the nonprofit Compass Connecting Point, the group that manages the waiting list and helped find Bailey a shelter room. "We're really just seeing more of everybody - every demographic, in every situation."

No shit.

Of course there are more homeless families. The cost of housing is beyong the reach of even many full-time employed people, and anyone who lacks a sizable weekly paycheck is completely out of luck. When dozens of high-paid workers are competing for every single available apartment, there's no room at all for anyone else.

And more and more families are losing their homes to eviction as landlords seek to cash in on the demand for tenancy-in-common units.

Gavin Newsom calls it "the burden of success." But it's not a burden for the successful; it's a burden for those who are struggling -- and this city has never asked the winners in the economic boom to pay a fair share to help those who are being displaced and hurt.

The city's scrambling to find public-housing and nonprofit alternatives, but there aren't anywhere near enough places to meet the need. And there won't be, not for a long time, not without a whole lot more money. Building affordable housing is expensive and time-consuming.

The bottom line: In a crisis like this one, the cheapest affordable housing is existing affordable housing, and the best way to prevent homelessness and keep families off the streets is to prevent evictions and TIC/condo conversions. Why the Chron can't figure that out is anyone's guess.