Listener Feedback: Tiny apartments

Jan 16, 2013

We always want to hear your feedback on our stories. We heard one important piece of feedback on a show we aired last week that discussed the trend of tiny houses. San Francisco recently passed legislation allowing apartments as small as 220 square feet. KALW's Ben Trefny interviewed city supervisor Scott Weiner about the new law.

SUPERVISOR WIENER: We have tens of thousands of people in this city who are living in very small spaces in the form of roommate situations where they have six or eight people living in a three- or four-bedroom apartment with no living room, all of them sharing one bathroom and one kitchen. So, a lot of people are already living in very small, cramped living spaces. I think those people should have a choice to live in a small studio with their own private bathroom and kitchen. 

A listener who identified herself as Lois thought we left an important point out of the conversation: the price.

LOIS: First of all, the person interviewing the supervisor did not even ask him for the price. From what I read in the paper, the prices are up to $2,000, and I’ve managed a building in San Francisco for a long time, and I don’t believe that bull#@%! of not having enough units. I really don’t believe it, and it’s B.S. because of the price. Mention the price! Say the damn price! Bye.

In response to Lois' comment, Ben Trefny wanted to offer some follow-up.

BEN TREFNY: So, Supervisor Wiener thinks the rent for these 220 square foot apartments will be somewhere around $1,500 a month. Now, compare that with the average rent for a studio apartment in San Francisco. It’s above $2,100 a month. So, more affordable, sure. But affordable? Not for a lot of people. And families couldn’t fit into such a space anyway - the New York Times said micro apartments are the size of five ping pong tables. San Francisco already has the fewest children per capita in the nation  – just over 13 percent – and this solution to the housing crunch isn’t going to inspire any more families with kids to stick around. Supervisor Wiener knows that, but he also knows the city is becoming less affordable, and this is one of several solutions in the works.

We always welcome your feedback on our stories – there are several places you can let us know what you think: here on our website, on our facebook page, or on our tip line at 415-264-7106.