This piece was produced by KALW and is republished here with permission as part of a collaboration with KALW.
The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco’s Mission District is currently about $3,500 per month. That means a renter needs to make almost $130,000 per year if she wants to spend just a third of her paycheck on rent. Singer-songwriter Candace Roberts doesn’t fall into that income bracket.
When the rent went up on her room in the Mission a few years ago, she decided she could no longer afford to stay there – or anywhere in the city. So she packed up her things and took a chance on a life without a permanent place to live.
CANDACE ROBERTS: I had sort of been pet sitting just kind of casually for about a year for a few people. Then all of the sudden there was this one month where I got booked solidly and I still had my place and my rent had just gone up and I thought, ‘God, maybe I could actually do this.’ It felt hopeful. I mean it also just felt really scary, because in the early days of doing this, sometimes clients would cancel and I would just freak out.
Click the audio player above to hear Roberts’ story.
Candace Roberts is performing live at the Monkey House in Berkeley on Saturday November 21, 2015. Details here.
Roberts is also featured on the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s “Narratives of Displacement” oral history map, where you can find more stories of displacement from around San Francisco.