Coming Home Again … Costs More

When Tiffany Johnson returned to the Coastside after having been gone for more than 20 years – to be closer to her mother, a cancer survivor, and give her four children the experience of growing up with Grandma – she found herself a member of the working poor.

Finding a place to live was a challenge. Tiffany’s salary as a restaurant manager barely suffices, and trying to scrape together a rental deposit meant one thing: There wasn’t enough to eat.

So, Tiffany visited the COC. “I went to the COC to see about getting some canned foods or something to get us through,” she said. Instead, the COC was able to make up the funds needed to move into a single-story house in Montara Tiffany rented under Section 8. “It was a godsend,” said Tiffany of the COC’s assistance.

The house is now full of energy- just like any home with four kids aged 3 to 12. Cody, 12, burst through the door bubbling about winning a basketball shoot-off. Taeya, 5, was preoccupied with a Happy Birthday balloon Tiffany received the day before. Three- year-old Jayce was clamoring for his mother’s cuddles. Cheyenne, 11, was trying to stay above it all. For now it’s home.

Tiffany’s frustration with the cost of living here, however, may send her elsewhere. Once Cody reaches high school, she would like to own a home -not possible for her on the Coastside. Even now, the cost of living still leaves them wanting. Cody wants to join a local basketball team, but the fee is too much. In Minnesota, she could afford her daughter’s gymnastics – not here. And Head Start wants a weekly fee $90 copay for Jayce. She buys only things on sae, and stocks her deep-freeze with good buys.

Still, Tiffany is certain she’s better off than many and does not want to take advantage. She knows the COC offers other forms of assistance, including groceries, but resists. “I feel I’m still kind of blessed,” she said. ” I can pull together things. I believe there are so many people in this community – the women and children, especially – [who need help]. I would rather see someone who needs it more get it.”

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