"Good Luck" in Finding Affordable Housing in Reno
A recent Reno Gazette-Journal article wishes “luck” to anyone looking to buy a single-family home for less than $300,000 in our area. This affects everyone from first-time buyers, to people who want to sell their home or relocate, and college students.
A new study from the apartment rental company Zumper says Reno, the 85th largest city has the 66th highest rent in the country, while a one bedroom apartment in Reno is now nearly 16 percent more expensive than it was a year ago, when prices were already climbing.
I'm a Student Living at Home, What about Others?
As a local college student myself, I have opted to live at home with my parents because it is truly the best option for me. Being a full-time student and part-time worker does not give me the financial independence I would need to afford renting a home on my own or even with roommates.
I am fortunate enough to be local and have family to live with while I study and save money, but many other students do not have that luxury. Out-of-state students, or even some Reno natives, have opted to live on their own and then face the grueling challenge of having to balance their schoolwork and their part-time/full-time jobs to cover their mounting housing bills.
The Dire Situation Elsewhere as Well
NPR’s Next Generation Radio covered this trend, with reporter Laura Tsutsui focussing on students in the Sacramento area. Rebecca Rodriguez, a student at Sacramento State, is “one of about 48,000 California State University students without reliable housing,” according to Tsutsui's reporting.
As a twenty-something college student who already faces an overwhelming amount of uncertainty in her life, housing definitely should not be one of those uncertainties.
But, as Tsutsui's report states: "the University of Wisconsin, Madison found that 50 percent of community college students across the nation are housing insecure and 14 percent are homeless.” These high percentages speak volumes to what tens of thousands of people and families are struggling with across the entire country.
While people are fired up to demand solutions to affordable housing, others still oppose the idea of setting up more homes for people who have been struggling. For example, Shelterforce magazine stated:
“First, the most commonly reported reason for opposition is fear of increased crime and decreased sense of safety—heard by over three out of every five developers experiencing opposition. Half of the developers also regularly hear community concern about tax burdens. This concern comes into play with many development projects, but more typically with developments such as affordable housing that normally seek some type of property tax concession from local government, and thus are viewed as not paying their “fair share” of the costs of public services to the site.”
I think this statement accurately demonstrates the amount of discrimination that people who search for affordable housing face regularly. Their potential neighbors believe them to be dangerous or even criminal. But, if affordable housing were made more accessible to people forced to live through homelessness or unreliable housing, would we not potentially see more stability?
Universal health care is important, but maybe we could start with figuring out how to provide universal affordable housing first. Studies have shown a housing solution also greatly reduces health costs and addictions for those now currently living on the streets.
Citizen's Forum Opinion Piece by Jazmin Orozco-Rodriguez shared with Our Town Reno