A professor teaching at San Jose State University who can’t afford a place to live in the South Bay tells KPIX 5 she is spending most nights sleeping in her car. Ellen Tara James-Penney is adjunct professor at San Jose State. She teaches four classes of English 1-A and has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. That has not kept her from becoming another member of San Jose’s homeless population. “With what I make at San Jose State, I can’t pay $2,000 a month rent. Can’t do it,” said James-Penney.

Her take home pay is about $2,500 a month. Her usual routine is nearly constant motion. After classes she parks in library or Walmart parking lots where she grades papers. “I sit there until it gets dark. Then I sneak into a neighborhood, park there, then go to sleep,” explained James-Penney.

She says when people find out they are shocked. “Because there is a stereotype, and that stereotype is drug addict, alcoholic, lazy,” said James-Penney. “I just asked my students, and that’s what they answered.”

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