“I had friends whose rents had doubled, and [I was watching them] scramble to figure out a solution,” Jose said. “People were renting out their basements, taking on roommates, things like that, just to get by.”
And there were another set of numbers on his mind, too: one girl in St. Louis, MO, who he just so happened to be dating long distance. $450 a month for his share of the rent on a huge, newly renovated one-bedroom apartment she wanted to share with him if he’d make the move to be with her. Hundreds of bonus square footage in the basement, plus a garage and a double lot where they could throw lawn parties every weekend. It all sounded pretty perfect.
But it wouldn’t be easy. Jose didn’t have a job lined up in Missouri. They certainly didn’t have the money for the moving costs; those would have to go on credit. Not to mention the fact that he’d also be leaving his home, his friends, and almost everything he knew behind in Colorado.
Like millions of rent burdened Americans, Jose was facing what might seem like a simple choice: to stay or to go. But embedded within that decision were a mountain factors, limitations and uncertainties — and once they’d all been put through their calculus, the choice might, effectively, be made for him.