Housing crisis

Right now, Southern Oregon is experiencing a housing crisis.

The number of buyers are up, the number of houses on the market are down, and there are a glut of renters who can’t find a place to live.

Current laws make it even harder to find affordable housing.

Oregon legislators are proposing new laws to protect renters.

In an effort to make housing more affordable, they want to repeal Oregon’s ban on rent control.

They also hope to ban “no cause evictions” so property owners are required to have good reason for sending tenants away.

With a market as tight as ours, it could make a big difference.

“And everything is completely out of price range,” resident Jenifer Scott said.

Jenifer and Cory Scott have yet to find a home for themselves and their two kids.

They have been searching since March.

“Finding houses right now is very difficult. Finding houses within the price range that’s affordable is even more difficult,” Cory Scott said.

The Scotts are among countless others at the housing authority of Jackson County getting on the wait list for affordable housing.

Director of Housing Programs, Cara Carter, says it’s not just low income families that are impacted, it’s the entire community.

“It’s really tough we have people coming in here all the time checking to see if we have anything available. All of our rentals have huge waiting lists and so people are really frustrated when they come in here looking for a place,” Carter said.

One waiting list has more than 1,000 people for a property with only 50 units which leaves some waiting for up to 4 years.

“The demand for rentals going up has caused the rents themselves to increase quite a bit as well, but we don’t have jobs moving into the area that can justify those kinds of rents or sustain them,” Carter said.

The Scotts say they struggle with scams on Craigslist, and expensive application fees.

They also know they can be turned down without a reasonable explanation.

“For example, if you have a companion animal or a therapy animal, they’re not allowed to deny you rent, but it’s up to them… they could say it’s because ‘well I don’t like the color of your hair’ or something like that,” Cory Scott said.

For now, they continue to search everyday.

“If you have a place, we’re looking for one,” Jenifer Scott said.

Although residents and the Housing Authority appreciate the efforts of legislators, Carter still doesn’t think the housing crisis can be fixed until more rental housing is available.


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