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so my husband is interviewing in Mountainview...

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

And I am a bit nervous! Is the San Francisco area a good place for families?

We have three kids, the oldest of which has special needs. Does anyone know what programs are available for kids with disabilities? Where do families live? It seems housing prices are really high.


Any and all info you can share about the area would be much appreciated, in order to help us figure out if this is the right move for our family. Thanks!

post #2 of 18

Hi there! My son is severly disabled (he is wheelchair bound) but we don't rely on services so I can't answer your questions regarding that. I do know that if you live in San Mateo County, you can look into the Golden Gate regional center for services...


For me (and we recently moved to Humboldt county due to the cons)...here is a list of pros and cons:



-The Bay Area/Peninsula has MANY fun activities for families.

-The weather is fantastic.

-Schools get high ratings (we homeschool, but I've read/heard about the quality).


Cons (we rented a duplex in Menlo Park, fwiw):

-The area is VERY, VERY wealthy. What that meant in our day to day: nannies galore, a HUGE sense of entitlement, people remodeling their multi-million dollar homes left and right and talking about it on the playground ("should we spend a million or less?" friend responds (actual conversation I overheard) "definitely a million...you don't want them cutting corners!"), perfectionism (read: NOT Special Needs friendly), extreme cut-throat competition (my older dd learned to ride a bike fairly young, which I didn't think much of, and the comments were mind blowing!!)

-Due to this extreme wealth, the area has a VERY high cost of living. We paid $2750 for an 1100 sq ft duplex in horrible condition. We moved out last month and our EXTREMELY wealthy landlord kept our ENTIRE security deposit to put the place back on the market ($3200!!!!!!!!) and is now lisitng it for $3450!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


At any rate, my experience sucked. My husband worked hard and made a good salary $95,000...but in that area, we were dirt poor. It doesn't feel good to be so disenfranchised (financially or socially)(from having a disabled child)


post #3 of 18

Yes, it depends on where you want to live.  San Francisco itself fosters a very mean mentality, I think.  I'm not saying there aren't any nice people there, but...not the most laid back people you'll ever meet. LOL  Very fight-friendly kind of attitudes abound.  Although, some of the most dedicated and sincere activists I've ever met live in SF.  And, I love them.  They're too feisty for me, in general, though.


So...where are you thinking of living in the Bay Area?  It's a big space. And, how folks are really depends on what town you live in.  That's what I've noticed since I moved here, anyway.

post #4 of 18

It definitely depends. My dh currently works in Mountain View, commuting from Alameda, which adds up to a soul-killing 1.5 hour drive each day. His employer does offer a shuttle-service, but its trips into our area are limited. He would love to minimize his commute, but the economy being what it is, he's clinging to the job he has.


That being said, we wouldn't consider moving closer to MV because we looove Alameda! My dh actually grew up here, it has a good school system, beautiful neighborhoods (some more desirable than others, of course), parks, safe for teens, easy to walk and bike all over. We're very fortunate because we've got a family&friends network in place, including all grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins, my dh friends from HS! But we (and my parents, esp having recently moved out here) have found it easy to make friends with new neighbors and parents at school.


It is expensive. Even sales tax is high. Property taxes, if you're buying, are a killer. Apts here are less than in SF, more than say Fremont or Castro Valley. Also, since Alameda is an island, you're not conveniently close to transit like BART or CalTrain. & unfortunately I don't have any info for you re: resources for special needs families. But I adore the Bay Area and its craziness, wouldn't want to leave, although I do daydream about being able to afford being a SAHM, and I worry about the Big One!


Good luck with your decision . . . moving anywhere is beyond tough.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thank you everyone for the thoughtful responses. Unfortunately, I have NO idea where we would be looking to live in the bay area. I am a midwestern girl, we live about 35 miles west of Chicago and I have been here all my life. I would LOVE to live in southern California, the San Diego area, but somehow this job opportunity presented itself for my husband in Mountainview. Its a job he would love and would be great for his career, so I have to do my  best to make this work for us.


My older daughter (with the special needs) also uses a wheelchair. Services I would like to know about for her include schools that are good for special needs kids, any waiver programs available that are not income based that allow for families to have a medical card. Here in Illinois, we have something called the home based services waiver where we get a medical card (not income based) which acts as a secondary insurance and covers things our regular insurance doesn't, like deductibles, diapers, prescription drugs, physical therapy, etc. They also pay for home based assistance for us (up to 65 hours a month) for someone to come and work with her after school. We also have funding for local respite care for something like 10 days a year, though we haven't used that yet. So, I would love to know if there is anything comparable in California~!


The cost of living is one thing I am definitely worried about. We have 3 daughters and I am a SAHM, so we have to live on my husbands income. Here we are comfortable, I am not sure what it would be like in the bay area. We are also a diverse family, my husband is Jewish, I am Cuban, one of my daughters is Mexican, one disabled, the other German/Mexican. So being in a diverse area is also important. Oh, and we have two dogs :)

post #6 of 18

starlein26 totally get where you're coming from, and in fact now I'm starting to freak out about it, but once I left the Bay Area, I really just wanted to move back -- but I preferred it back in the 80s when rents weren't so high.

I think it is possible to find a less expensive place, but you will have to drive a long way (say Benicia).

post #7 of 18

I should add that I was just coming on here to try to find a neighborhood in the Bay Area where the housing prices are not too outrageous, where there are other stay at home moms, and where at least some unschoolers live. But I am starting to think that there isn't any place like that in the Bay Area. Why are there so many many many rich people there these days? Where did they get all their money, anyway?

post #8 of 18

One good source of neighborhood info is the Berkeley Parents' Network (at http://parents.berkeley.edu/ see the sections under Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving as well as http://parents.berkeley.edu/recommend/

post #9 of 18

Pookietooth, I wish I knew where they were all getting their money! LOL


I know some SAHMs here.  One loved living in Richmond, the other loves living in Oakland (they live on the Oakland/Berkeley border right now).  Another one, lives in Berkeley, like me.  I think one can be a SAHM here and still be comfortable, but it takes a bit of work to find the right place to stay.  I have only met one homeschooler, so far, but I haven't really tried to meet any, either, yet.  I hear it's good to go to the homeschool group park days and there are 2 main ones or something.  I'm waiting to see where we end up living b/c I'm working on moving right now. 

post #10 of 18

Pookietooth- Good luck with your search! It's a tough area...that's why we're here in Humboldt County now! love.gif

post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 

what is it like in San Jose? My husband was thinking that might be a possibility for us to live? Unfortunately I don't have a clue, so I am relying on everyone here's real life experiences. Thank you again!


post #12 of 18

I have heard San Jose is not so nice but I've never met anyone who lived there. Los Gatos/Santa Cruz mtns. are supposed to be nicer but I've never met anyone from there either. Best wishes.

post #13 of 18

Oh boy, I have SO much to say on this. We just moved to the SV last summer.


I quite like Mountain View and aspire to be able to afford to live there some day.  Parts of San Jose are quite nice, parts are quite not.  I highly recommend searching city-data.com forums for information on specific neighborhoods and zip codes.


Time for Dinner, but I'll BBL with more thoughts...

post #14 of 18

You are welcome to PM me with specific questions. I have decided this was too much information.

Edited by Melaniee - 8/2/11 at 7:58am
post #15 of 18

I second the rec for Berkeley Parents Network (http://parents.berkeley.edu/). There is constant discussion regarding where to live and how to afford it. I'm sure advice for special needs as well.

We have family in SJ who love it  . . . actually lots of smaller communities in that area that may have possibilities, but it's a huge area, actually has surpassed SF as the largest city in the Bay Area!


I think if I were to move south, away from my cozy nest in Alameda, I would choose Burlingame/San Mateo area. However, this isn't research-based, just having enjoyed visiting the areas on occasion.


Los Gatos/SC is gorgeous, but oy! the traffic! Plus, every year the main road gets washed out during the rains and everyone is either trapped at home or diverted for hours.

post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

Hello again everyone ;)

So, the interview went well and they would like to hire my husband. Except we don't know yet for how much, that is still in the works. I am freaking out just a little here at the very real possibility that we could be living in the bay area (sort of~!).


Housing seems SO expensive compared to the midwest. I don't even know how to begin looking for a place to live!

post #17 of 18

One other thing I forgot to mention, is that if they offer corporate housing for free for a few months, do take it. Do not feel rushed to pick something you don't like. That is what we did and spent the next year regretting it. As much of a pain as it may seem to be to live somewhere temporarily and short-term, it's worse to live somewhere longer-term that is awful.  If you check out the city-data.org forums you can post some anonymous-style questions about cost of living and your Dh's intended salary that will help give you a better idea if you can afford to live here. I can understand not wanting to post those details somewhere that you are "known."

Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

Hello again everyone ;)

So, the interview went well and they would like to hire my husband. Except we don't know yet for how much, that is still in the works. I am freaking out just a little here at the very real possibility that we could be living in the bay area (sort of~!).


Housing seems SO expensive compared to the midwest. I don't even know how to begin looking for a place to live!


post #18 of 18

San Jose itself is not bad. What people call "bad neighborhoods" means a lot of property crime and *some* gang activity in most cases. (Stay away from East Palo Alto, though. Gun violence is real there.) From what I hear, the actual San Jose school district isn't as good as others in the area. Ethnic diversity is fairly widespread in most cases. Mixed-race families are common. 

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