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Old 02-21-2011, 01:27 PM
Location: Silver Spring, MD
27 posts, read 53,673 times
Reputation: 17


Hello San Francisco forum! I'm currently in Montgomery County, Maryland, and am badly wanting to move west. I am thinking SF partly due to location/weather and partly the LGBT community, plus I'm a fairly artsy person. In reality I can choose to live anywhere in the US now that I've lived my first year on the voucher here in MD, but for some reason CA calls to me even though I've only ever super-briefly visited. So I have some worries and questions.

Firstly, I heard the state government pretty much tanked a lot of social services, so would I have problems using the voucher there? Feel free to correct/expound on that rumor, I haven't researched it more thoroughly yet (hoping to hear a bit about it here). I am also on food stamps here, and wondering how well that would transfer.

As far as picking a potentially-expensive location, I am used to high rent. Where I am it's nuts and I have seen similar pricing around SF... but I only pay 1/3 of my income anyways, the voucher covers the rest. It's worth just over $1200/mo in rent total, or $1300ish if I want to pay 40% of my income. I'm also used to high cost of food and such, and I have a lot of nasty food allergies so health food stores / something like Whole Foods is my best bet for a lot of stuff, plus I've found a mail-order supplier online as well. Regular grocery stores work for the rest.

Secondly, how *is* the community, in truth? I am not a very outgoing person, though I would like to make a few local friends. I imagine some specific areas of town are better than others, just like over here as far as things like general attitude and crime rates and whatnot. For all I know it's a similar situation over there as here as well, where "cities" are more like zoning areas jammed together and here you can call several different areas either "Silver Spring" or the smaller city names that they were before Silver Spring devoured them.

With that thought in mind, I have to wonder if I should be broadening my search area for potential future living spaces near the bay, but again, I don't know where to look. Suggestions? I can't help but find it ironic that where I live now has expensive rent *and* is actually a pretty crappy area. I'd rather lose the junk factor, but I have no idea what part of the greater SF area I should be looking at. Also I do not and probably cannot own a car (maintenance cost and inability to handle actually driving), so either access to a lot of things locally within walking distance or good public transit is a must.

Thirdly, I have only ever seen the city from a car, usually on family road trips of doom going over the Bay Bridge and attempting to follow the highway signs through the streets. I imagine it would be smartest to come out and visit first, but I will have very limited funds prior to when I can actually move. Also, I am at a point where... I half don't care where I move to, as long as it is *off the east coast*... SF has a lot of things going for it in my mind for a place to try and settle down. I'm permanently disabled and pending whatever the future brings, may never see more than the Social Security income I have. I am at least used to living on a small budget, and am actually fairly young to be in this position (early 30's) so it is a bit of a thought-puzzle knowing I have a large potential of time awaiting my future. Unless the world ends next December like the Mayans say. XD On the flip side, I'm not really worried about it, I make do financially. I just seriously hate being on the east coast and am much more a west coast kinda gal, having lived in Washington state and Oregon in the past.

Lastly, I'm wondering about earthquakes. I've only ever experienced a very minor one, here recently in MD of all places, and actually second-guessed what it was and learned the truth later (seemed more like a low-flying aircraft buzzed the apartment highrise). I know it's a CA stereotype, but how much of an issue is it really? Does it make apartment insurance expensive? I suppose the thought that a bad one could hit is just as potent as a tornado or any of the weird stuff that happens on this side of the country, but yeah, I'm wondering how much a factor that might be in choosing CA in general as a place to live.

I plan to move early next year (2012) because a final large backpayment from Social Security hits then, and if I want to move without taking out a loan or something, I have to do it then. Another rather ridiculous factor about SS is that I lose out on some of the monthly check if my assets go over $2000 at any point other than the 6-month grace period for spending away backpay. Sooo yeah... it's kinda important to me to pick a good spot in the country where I can attempt to find that illusive thing called "home" and not be stuck thinking "I wish I could get out of here."

So, apologies for the wall of text. Thoughts? ^_^
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:49 PM
70 posts, read 126,446 times
Reputation: 87
I currently live in the LA area, not SF, but it is very true that services are being slashed left and right in California. If you are living off governmental assistance, this is NOT the state to be in these days. There is a very large underserved population in this state in all cities, so there is always a lot of competition/waiting/people who are left out in the cold. Also, the cost of living here is very expensive compared to almost anywhere else in the country - rent, groceries, public transportation, gas, and of course, taxes.

If I was in your position I would look to move to a state with a better financial situation and a lower cost of living. You will get much more for your money somewhere else.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 02-21-2011 at 09:10 PM.. Reason: Edited out reference to deleted posts
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:01 PM
Location: California
3,735 posts, read 4,033,579 times
Reputation: 7255
Wake up and smell the coffee! Diabled with only an AA transfer degree - where do you think that will get you? Our new governor is cutting the budget on everything so you won't get very far without a degree and a good job. I can't afford to buy at Whole Foods but you sure seem to enjoy it so come on out live the good life on the tax payers while the rest of work.
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Old 02-21-2011, 05:17 PM
70 posts, read 126,446 times
Reputation: 87
If you look at the OP's other posts it seems she is living in government housing specifically for adults with mental illness/mental disabilities. Those places are no picnic, and they also don't just let anyone live there - you actually need to be mentally disabled or ill enough to qualify. Needless to say, I don't think CA is the right place for OP due to the obvious budget constraints and the dwindling govt benefits in this state.

Last edited by Green Irish Eyes; 02-21-2011 at 09:12 PM.. Reason: Edited out reference to deleted post
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Old 02-21-2011, 07:57 PM
Location: South Korea
5,243 posts, read 9,846,851 times
Reputation: 2908
What state would be better though? All states have budget crises.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:28 PM
Location: THE USA
3,254 posts, read 4,690,259 times
Reputation: 1972
I'll bite. If you only get public assistance, ssi/housing etc.. you will be SCREWED here.

You would have to live in a high crime area or start selling drugs to supplement your income.

There is also a HUGE waiting list for section 8 housing assistance. They just closed it for the year (at least) and even then, hardly anyone wants to rent to those who have it.

Your money will not go far here. You would be paying over 50% of your monthly $$ for rent most likely.
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:43 PM
Location: Oakland, CA
4,501 posts, read 4,796,865 times
Reputation: 3724
If you can live anywhere you wish, why not choose NYC and save yourself some hefty relocation costs? There's a strong, vibrant arts and LGBT community that trumps SF in every way imaginable.
I've also heard the social services are far better than SF. Plus you'd be living in an Alpha global city as opposed to one that plays second fiddle to LA on the West Coast. Come to think of it, the weather is 10x better in LA than SF...have you considered a move to SoCal?
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:42 PM
Location: THE USA
3,254 posts, read 4,690,259 times
Reputation: 1972
Originally Posted by 04kL4nD View Post
. Come to think of it, the weather is 10x better in LA than SF...have you considered a move to SoCal?
Put that pipe down, LA is hotter and smoggier than the Bay Area by FAR. It is famous for it's gross air quality. Some of us don't think HOTTER is better. Landslides, Fires, all that good stuff LA is known for.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:36 PM
2 posts, read 3,314 times
Reputation: 12
I think your out of line Heidi60, Why don't you relax, there is no reason for the insults on the disabled, unless your a child.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:45 PM
Location: South Korea
5,243 posts, read 9,846,851 times
Reputation: 2908
We have no idea what this "voucher" will do, she specifically asked if it would work here, and we have no idea what it is. I merely asked if it means Section 8 and my post was deleted by a mod for being "off-topic." There have been a few somewhat recent topics here about people wanting to move here on S8, might want to take a look. Honestly most people on this SF forum seem like judgmental middle-aged suburbanites so I'm not sure how much advice you'd get.

If you want advice about Section 8 and other government services for the poor/disabled you might want to see what people on the NYC forum says, it seems like there's a lot of people there talking about it and how to get into housing projects compared with this forum, it certainly wouldn't be specific to the Bay Area but you might pick up some general advice about how to deal with federal programs etc. There might also be other forums here like for housing or employment that might have some people in the know. Good luck.
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