Many Left Behind As Silicon Valley Rebounds
By MARTHA MENDOZA
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) On a morning the stock market was sailing to a record high and a chilly storm was blowing into Silicon Valley, Wendy Carle stuck her head out of the tent she calls home to find city workers duct taping an eviction notice to her flimsy, flapping shelter walls.
"I have no idea where I'm going to go," she said, tugging on her black sweatshirt over her brown curls and scooping up Hero, an albino dog.
She glanced at the glimmering windows on a cluster of high-tech office buildings just blocks away and shook her head."Did you know Google shares hit $840 each this morning?" she asked. "I just heard that on the radio." Carle, who did not want to give her age, used to manage apartments. Today she lives on a Supplemental Security Income disability payment of $826 a month due to back and joint problems. The Silicon Valley is adding jobs faster than it has in more than a decade as the tech industry roars back. Stocks are soaring and fortunes are once again on the rise. But a bleaker record is also being set this year: Food stamp participation just hit a 10-year high, homelessness rose 20 percent in two years, and the average income for Hispanics, who make up one in four Silicon Valley residents, fell to a new low of about $19,000 a year capping a steady 14 percent drop over the past five years, according to the annual Silicon Valley Index released by Joint Venture Silicon Valley, representing businesses, and the philanthropic Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Simply put, while the ultra-rich are getting even richer, record numbers of Silicon Valley residents are slipping into poverty. "In the midst of a national economic recovery led by Silicon Valley's resurgence, as measured by corporate profits and record stock prices, something strange is going on in the Valley itself. Most people are getting poorer," said Cindy Chavez, executive director of San Jose-based Working Partnerships USA, a nonprofit advocating for affordable housing, higher minimum wages and access to health care.
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