Asian Pacific Islanders in SF struggling financially

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new report just released shows that a high number of Asian Pacific Islanders in San Francisco are struggling to make ends meet. The survey contradicts the so-called "model minority" stereotype.

Lourdes Hitones, 80, and her husband Lorenzo survive on social security. They live at an affordable housing unit in the Tenderloin with their disabled son Edward and another son who has two kids. Making ends meet for this extended family in an expensive city is a tough chore.

"We spend our money just enough for our food," Lourdes said. "Our clothing, not too much. Just for food, is important."

"All these findings actually told us very different story of what think people API's have," said Self-Help for the Elderly President Anni Chung "That they have no needs, have high education, have high income."

The findings show that Asian Pacific Islanders are the largest minority group affected by poverty, just more than one third of the 110,000 San Franciscans living below that poverty line.

What's more revealing is that the number of impoverished API's grew more rapidly than any other racial group -- 44 percent in four years.

But what the survey shows is that a third of those Asian Pacific Islanders now live in the west side of the city. Districts like the Richmond and Sunset.

Malcolm Yeung is with the Chinatown Community Development Center.

"We need to be going deeper into the neighborhoods where we're identifying needs instead of just relying on some core neighborhoods to serve citywide," Yeung said.

The survey also shows that API's suffer from disproportionately high unemployment.

While the overall city jobless rate was 5.4 percent, 7.3 percent of Asians were unemployed. And nearly three times that for Pacific Islanders and native Hawaiians.

Now armed with these findings, community activists say they will ask city hall for more resources to help those in need.
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