08/05/2017 / By Russel Davis
A Facebook contractor named Unique ‘Pinky’ Parsha has recently stated in public that she had been forced to live out of her car due to the high cost of living in the Silicon Valley. According to Parsha, she used to rent in the northern California neighborhood where the high rental rates for apartments, in combination with her student loans and medical bills, had led her to eventually becoming homeless.
Parsha, a mother of two, had been living in her car for four months before announcing her situation to the public. In doing so, she hopes to initiate a dialogue on fair compensation and the relatively high rental rents in the Silicon Valley. Parsha runs the Love n Me non-profit, which aims to help women and girls to start a new and pursue a successful, fulfilling life.
“I tell people all the time, stop looking at what somebody got and what you see on the outside. Everything I do here, this is my life. This car means everything to me because it’s all I have basically. I’m very embarrassed because I don’t want to be looked down upon or talked about…[my colleagues] would be shocked that I’m going through that because they would be like ‘I see you smiling at work, you appear to be happy. You look normal, you look clean…I think that companies need to look at the salaries. Are we paying employees enough to survive?,” Parsha told KTVU.com.
In response, a Facebook representative noted that the company acknowledges the effects of higher cost-of-living on its less prosperous employees. “[Facebook is] committed to being active and responsible neighbors by supporting the communities near’ their Menlo Park headquarters. [The company has invested an] initial $20 million contribution to… community groups, philanthropies and companies’…over the next few months and years to grow our regional impact,” a company representative told DailyMail.co.uk.
The company representative also confirmed that Parsha was not a direct employee, but works for third-party contractor affiliated with the social media giant. The representative also stressed that the company strives to develop a fair and equitable work environmental for all its employees as well as contractors. According to a company literature, the minimum salary at Facebook is $15 an hour. The social media giant has since implemented better conditions for contractors such as a 15 days-off paid vacation. The company has also instituted a child care benefit of up to $4,000.
Parsha said she started working at Facebook two months ago, and is now looking for a second job to pay her bills.
Silicon Valley’s apartment rates remain relatively high despite a reported slowdown in annual rent growth. According to a report by Real Answers, the average asking rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Santa Clara County reached as much as $2,361 in 2016. This was 6.5 percent higher than 2015 rates, the report showed. The experts also noted that one-bedroom apartments in San Mateo County costs $2,590. According to the report, this was 6.8 percent higher than rates seen in 2015.
The report noted that while growth in apartment rates within Silicon Valley’s higher-priced markets appeared to have lost some of their steam, less expensive markets still exhibited relatively high rates. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in San Jose costs $2,244 in 2016. According to the report, this was 9 percent higher than $2,058 in 2015. (Related: A staggering number of college students in Los Angeles are HOMELESS, survey finds.)
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