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Rental market is frustrating

As they say, the struggle is real.

Today’s Oxford EAGLE has a story about the rental situation, which some would call a crisis, in town that summarizes what about 100 people have to say. Rental units are catered to students, and landlords charge by the room or by the head. No longer remembered are the families who are making an honest living … it is all about the students and how much money can be made.

While that is a terribly general statement, it is one that is being said throughout the city, county and state. People are aware of the housing situation here and it raises eyebrows and disapproval. And lucky are the folks who gobbled up a home or two or more in the 1980s or 1990s before things really started skyrocketing.

Being a single professional, I understand it’s not affordable to pay the going rate of $1,200 a month for a three-bedroom 1,000-square-foot house in Oxford. Being a single professional who has lived in more affordable towns, I understand what it is like to have a three-bedroom home filled with beautiful furniture handed down through generations that won’t fit into the homes that are for rent in Oxford.

City and county officials are aware of this problem and have been studying solutions with their long-range comprehensive planning. I’m not quite sure there is a solution though given the price of land and real estate in Lafayette County.

Since that is the case, it’s time to build up and build out. It’s also time for the University of Mississippi to look at putting more housing on its land.

Nearby counties can grow too, thanks to Oxford’s growth. It is, after all, the fastest-growing county in Mississippi and one of the most talked-about cities in the United States. Nearby cities and counties can capitalize on this and grow their communities by leaps and bounds. We can become a regional hub with Oxford at the center and enjoy the perks regional hubs offer.

To be completely fair, not all landlords in Oxford are out to make a quick buck. In my quest to find affordable housing, I met some kind, honest, good people who either are genuine or honest. The Yancy family was one. I also met some people who suggested I do something horrible with my pets … like get rid of them or banish them to a basement or yard. I’ve also had one individual hang up on me when he heard what my needs were.

I also realize there are regular residents out there who happened to buy a condo for whatever reason and just rent it for a reasonable price to keep it occupied and safe. There are opportunities with these reasonable folks to find affordable solutions by constantly networking and finding your proper fit.

To the people struggling to find a home, just know you are not alone. There is a Facebook page dedicated to the plight, and given the area is growing by about 3 percent yearly, there are a lot of people in predicaments.

Find the bright spots in the school districts you are in, learn a second language on CD while you’re commuting 30 minutes to an hour, get involved in the communities you call work and home, and find the positives to your situation.

But above all, realize you are not alone and the struggle is real.

Stephanie Rebman is editor of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact her at stephanie.rebman@oxfordeagle.com.