Tenants of Hillsboro apartment building fear homelessness after rent hike

Author: Blair Best

HILLSBORO, Ore. — A low-income tenant at an apartment building in Hillsboro says he’s facing a rent increase of more than $300 a month. He’s one of many at the Alma Gardens apartments who received a notice that their rent will climb in November.

Several of Alma Gardens’ tenants told KGW that they could be facing homelessness because of the coming rent hike.

Michael Ebersole has been living in the complex for three years. Before that he was homeless.

“I lived in a truck for about a year and a half, running around Beaverton, Hillsboro, being chased from one parking lot to another,” he said.

Ebersole now has a Section 8 housing voucher and lives off his Social Security income, which is about $1,600 a month.

He just received notice from Income Property Management Company that his rent will go up by $362 a month starting in November.

“There’s no way my budget can hold that,” said Ebersole. “I’m broke a week before payday as it is.”

Generally speaking, the highest that rent can be increased in Oregon this year is by 9.9%, according to the state’s Office of Economic Analysis. Ebersole is facing a 33% increase.

Ebersole said that he tried reaching out to his property management and housing authority but couldn’t get answers. Since he’s on a Section 8 housing voucher he pays one third of the rent and the housing voucher helps with the rest. However, this raise will still put him in a tough spot.

“That’s putting me out on the street, you know — come on, I already came from there,” Ebersole said. “I’ve been working to get in line, you know, I get angry about it.”

“I wasn’t surprised, everything’s going up … but I’m not happy about it,” said Scott Duke, who also lives at Alma Garden apartments. He received a similar notice telling him his rent would be raised. He lives on a fixed income and worries he won’t be able to afford it.

“Means I’ll be probably living up in the mountains by the river somewhere in a tent,” Duke added.

He also hasn’t been given any answers as to why the increase is coming or what he’s supposed to do.

“It sucks being in limbo … I mean it sucks to think that you might possibly be out of an apartment,” he said.

“It’s like dehumanizing. It’s very dehumanizing, it just takes away from us,” added Ebersole.

There are limited exemptions to the rent cap when it comes to affordable housing providers. KGW reached out to Income Property Management Company to see if this increase is part of those exceptions but has yet to receive a response.

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