Eric Kauschen lives in the Outer Sunset home his grandparents purchased in the 1950s. But despite his deep roots in San Francisco, his berth here is anything but secure.
After the tech firm he worked for failed to renew his contract last month, Kauschen, a musician, blogger, and graphic designer, is in danger of losing the four-bedroom home he inherited from his mother—because he can't afford to cover the property taxes.
Kauschen is the sole breadwinner for his family, as his 9-year-old daughter has autism, and his wife serves as her caregiver. To pay the bills, he's hoping to get behind the wheel as a driver for Uber, but his car is in the shop for repairs, another bill he can't afford to pay.
With no other options, he's turning to his neighbors for help. Kauschen has launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $3,000. So far, he's raised $655.
"I grew up in the house," said Kauschen, and because of Proposition 13, "my property tax is $1,600 per year, which is less than most people have to pay per month."
"[But] because it's so low, they won't let me make monthly payments on it," he explained. "If you have to pay $10,000 a year in property tax, they'll let you pay it off monthly."
Kauschen says he has "lots of dental problems" and insufficient insurance. He sought care at UCSF Dental Center while still employed, but after multiple procedures and an infection, "I was popping lots of Tylenol," he said. That caused his liver to act up, which meant lost time from work, "and because it's a contract position, you don't get paid."
Now that Uber guarantees driver earnings during certain hours, Kauschen said he was glad to get back behind the wheel. "Instead of working a 50-hour week at a tech company, I could make about the same amount of money [ride-sharing] in 20 to 30 hours," he said. "But because my liver was acting up, I had to slow down."
Kauschen said that losing the home that's been in his family for more than 60 years would have serious repercussions, as he hopes to use the house's value to give his daughter "support and stability" after he and his wife have passed on.
Although a sale could garner enough "to probably buy two houses in Sacramento," Kauschen said he's committed to staying in San Francisco, because of the quality of care his daughter receives here.
He has until December 10th to settle up, but if he's unable to meet the deadline, he's concerned that the city will put a lien on the house and sell it if he's unable to meet the deadline.
"I hate asking for help like this," Kauschen said, noting that he's already endured online taunts from people predicting he'll lose his home. But the benefit of keeping his family in San Francisco offsets any injury to his pride, he said.
"We're pretty good here, and we'd like to stay here."
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