Beyond the Bay: Modesto

Welcome to the fringe of Silicon Valley, where 20.5 percent of the population lives in poverty and the waitlist for affordable housing hasn’t been open since 2010.

Andrea Martin waited five years for her name to reach the top of the Section 8 waitlist. Now, she and her two daughters are racing against time to find a landlord willing to accept their $1,400-a-month housing voucher before it expires in early February.

Stuck at a Motel 6 as they search for a home within budget, the family is among the latest casualties of a federal housing assistance program that once provided a reliable safety net but increasingly fails to catch thousands of renters in Northern California and beyond.

But Martin’s case is different. She doesn’t live in San Francisco or elsewhere in the notoriously expensive Bay Area. She lives in Tracy, on the edge of what used to be one of the state’s last bastions of affordable housing.

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