Nicole Jones is a bartender to some of the wealthiest people on planet earth. As a single mother living in Silicon Valley, California, she interacts with billionaires and millionaires on a daily basis. But besides have a job where she deals with affluent clientele, the rest of Jones’s life is a struggle.
As a single mother living in one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States, she is forced to scrape together every penny in order to make ends meet. And that means she is living out of a tiny 200-square-feet garage with her two kids.
Jones makes good money working as a bartender serving the employees of Apple, Google, and other tech companies. But ironically, it is those very patrons who have forced Jones out of her home and into a garage. Why? Because the housing market in Silicon Valley has skyrocketed in recent years.
Because she doesn’t make enough money to rent an apartment or house in Silicon Valley, Nicole is forced to live out of a one-car garage for $1,000 per month. It’s a cramped, small space for her family of three, but it is all Nicole can afford if she wants to stay in the Valley.
Unfortunately, the garage was the best thing she could find. Even searching for an apartment in Silicon Valley is expensive. She spent $750 on application fees alone in her home search and wound up with nothing. Because she needed a place for her family to sleep, she settled on the tiny garage.
The Joneses were forced out of their moderate apartment because the rent prices skyrocketed. As more tech company employees, who get paid a lot of money, move into the city, landlords keep raising the rent and the price of housing.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Silicon Valley is more than $3,000 a month.
Even though Nicole has a regular job that pays well since she is dealing with some of the world’s richest corporations, she hardly makes enough money to support her family.
Spending more than $3,000 a month on rent was not doable for Nicole, especially considering she needs to buy groceries, clothes for her kids, insurance, and more.
Though Nicole’s living arrangement might sound horrible, she has done wonders with the small space. It is surprisingly nice inside and she has made it look very good.
The space has a queen bed and a mini fridge. The family cooks everything in a microwave and toaster oven.
“Honestly, I always thought homeless people were panhandlers or people on the street that were hungry and cold and drug addicts and alcoholics — who didn’t want to do anything for themselves,” Jones told CBS. “I work and make decent money when I’m working. I think part of the reason why I became homeless is because finding work and day care and transportation and everything just combined made it impossible for me to keep a roof over our head.”