Colorado Springs Metro Area residents are drowning in this dismal rental housing market.
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Colorado Springs was listed at #11 for the US News "Best Places to Live" in February 2017, with a score of 7.1 out of 10. One of the major pitfalls the city has, which lowered the score enough to keep COS out of the top 10, is the abysmal housing market. US News reports the housing costs are more than 10% higher than the US average & housing costs over time have been above the US average since 2008. To add insult to injury, according to the March 2015 National Low Income Housing Coalition, “Housing Spotlight”, Colorado is one of only 13 states that have less than the national level of affordable and available rental housing units per 100 households at or below 30% of “Area Median Income” (AMI). And the current residents are feeling the brunt of this insurmountable housing market!
Imagine renting a home for several years. You diligently pay your rent on time. You take care of the house as though it were your own. Your children are thriving in their schools. Your lease comes up to be renewed but your landlord or property owner decide it is better to put the house on the market for sale, leaving your family to wade through the rough waters of one of the most cut-throat rental housing markets to ever exist. You find that your rental applications are being turned down left & right, at an average of $40 per person ($80 per couple). When you're unable to get approved, losing hundreds of dollars to property management companies hand-over-fist, you're left with few options: find a friend or family member to live with for the average 6 months to a year while you fight this market, live in an extended stay hotel indefinitely, cozy up in one of the majorly overcrowded homeless shelters, or hope you can find a place to sleep in the family car.
This is happening to hundreds of families and individuals every day in Colorado Springs. We feel like vultures fighting over a piece of meat when a new rental pops up on the market and folks are losing obscene amounts of money to greedy property owners who are sitting back and collecting money from every sucker that walks in the door thinking that this is a fabulous place to live! We are hardworking individuals that pay our bills, pay our taxes, but may have a ding or 2 on our credit. Most properties require 3x your income to even let you look at an available property and even someone with a pristine credit score of 700 doesn't necessarily stand a chance of not having a lease or contract stolen from underneath them. How can a single mother, a disabled individual, a blue collar family, and even military be able to continue to live in a housing situation like this?
It is time that our city officials work to do something before our city crumbles under this crisis! Those of us bearing the brunt of this growing epidemic understand that implementing a cap on skyrocketing rents is not a feasible answer. However limiting the number of applications that can be submitted for one property is a realistic goal. The lessening of competition for an available location will eventually give some equilibrium to this housing situation.
In addition, planning a project to bring our city closer in line with the majority of the nation in terms of affordable housing is necessary. The affordable housing that we currently have is not enough to fit the city's needs, especially when we have more people who want to move to live here because our town does have a lot to offer. There is a surplus in the general fund right now that is only expected to grow through 2020. Is there a reason the city cannot allocate more funding for community development from the general fund?
We, citizens, need our city officials to know that we desperately need them working to get control of this housing deficit before it gets any worse! Action needs to be taken sooner rather than later - before it knocks our beautiful city down to one of the worst to live in.
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