Milpitas woman and kids left homeless after spike in rent

MILPITAS, Calif. (KTVU) - A South Bay woman is fighting to stay in Milpitas after she said sky-high rent prices forced her to become homeless.

When Julie Martinez got her first apartment in Milpitas more than 30 years ago, she was hooked on staying and raising her family in Milpitas.

"The schools are fantastic," said Martinez. "The teachers are great."

However, her dream hit a harsh reality when last month, the property manager of her three-bedroom home upped the rent more than she could afford. Despite her perfect rent history and a good paying job, she and her children are now homeless.

"Two of the children are living in Hayward," said Martinez. "My daughter is living with my son in South San Jose and I am living couch to couch and sometimes in the truck. I'm devastated beyond belief. I've never been in this situation. I was at a point where I just want to give up."

"I'm very aware of the skyrocketing real estate in Milpitas," said Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves.

Esteves calls the housing crisis "unfortunate." He said the new BART station is spurring new housing developments upwards of 7,000 new homes yet pricing will likely be at current market value. The average rent is $2,000-3,000 month.

"It looks like we are building a lot," said Esteves. "It's not yet enough. That's why the demand is still very high and the supply is not enough."

He said like other cities, losing redevelopment agency funds cut affordable housing out of the picture. The City of Milpitas is hoping a new study will provide answers on either making developers pay a housing impact fee or set aside a percentage of affordable homes, all to help low-income families.

Martinez wants the city to do something, saying she'll keep fighting to live in Milpitas.

"I want to stay in Milpitas," said Martinez. "I want to live there. That's my city. I feel good there. I feel home."

Martinez plans to take her concerns to City Hall on Tuesday night. On the agenda, the city council will look at how to legally enforce affordable housing requirements for the homes being built now.