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Poll shows housing costs may drive middle class workers away from Central Coast

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Cal Coastal Properties

SANTA MARIA, Calif. - A new survey by the Hourglass Project finds that Central Coast residents are anxious about money, with many saying they may even move away.

The poll was commissioned by the Hourglass Project, which was launched by business and civic leaders to strengthen our economy on the Central Coast.

It surveyed 540 people in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara Counties.

Only one person found housing to be affordable.

The survey showed half of middle class workers are considering leaving the central coast. That number jumps to 63 percent with Latinx workers and to 83 percent for African American workers.

Their major concerns include housing costs and low wages.

Jeannie Wolfsen's son and daughter-in-law were forced to move from the area. "They're a young married couple. They're both graduates of cal poly. But they can't afford to stay in the area, so they had to move out," she said.

Brian Johnson of Arroyo Grande said he and his wife have two young kids, but many of their friends have moved inland to places like Arizona.

"What's important to you?" he said. "Do you want to live near the beach or do you want to find an affordable house that's in the desert?"

Housing costs and low wages mean there's less money for other things.

One out of three respondents would need to borrow money for an emergency costing $500.

Additionally, one in ten households don't have enough money for food every month.

Most people in the survey said they don't expect young people to be able to afford to live on the central coast.

The Hourglass Project is now working on putting together a ten year jobs action plan to be released in March.

Community / Economy / Latino / Money and Business / San Luis Obispo County / Santa Maria - North County

Anikka Abbott

Anikka Abbott is a reporter for KEYT | KCOY | KKFX.