Rental vacancy in JaCo at 1%, some living on the streets

Jackson County, Ore.– The Housing Authority saidfindinga place to rent for many is hard. Right now the county’s rental vacancy is at 1%.

Candy Hurt knows it all too well. She said in her 51 years of life, she never imagined she would be living on the streets of Ashland.

“There’s people like me that don’t do drugs or drink and we want a place, maybe to get enough money for a hotel for a night so we can have a bath.”

But she is because she’s had such a hard time finding housing in Jackson County.Hurt and her fiance, who are on Supplemental Security Income moved here from Salem five months ago. Since the move, they’ve been homeless.

But it’s a matter of life or death for Hurt to find housing. She cherishes every breath she takes because she’s disabled on an electric oxygen tank that needs to charge every four hours.

“It’s really hard to walk..especially with my breathing problems. There’s hills that I have to go through to bridges.”

Alice Lema has been in the real estate business for 15 years. She said there’s a severe housing shortage in Jackson County.

“There’s not enough dwelling to service all the people who have needs. And we have more people moving in so the population pressure on Southern Oregon is stronger then people realize.”

The housing authority also said the rental vacancy stems from the fallout of the housing market during the recession.

But for Hurt and her fiance, it’s another day on the street until they can find a place to call home.

“Hopefully somebody out there might have a place for me to stay in Jackson County. I pay rent on time. I always have.” said Hurt.

Hurt and her fiance get help from the Ashland Community Resource Center.

Her case manager from the non profit organization “Home at Last” said another reason a lot of people with low income can’t find housing is because landlords are very selective and charge an application rate that some can’t afford.

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