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Residents speak out

Permission was given to use the discussion on Facebook on the Homes for Sale/Rent-Oxford MS group.

Sherra Jones: We’ve got to stop giving our vote away, or not voting at all, unless and until our issues are addressed – namely, housing! You can’t tell me that longstanding apartments like Oxford Square, built in the 70’s at a cost of $400-500 then is now renting for $900-1200 is really worth that! Some people will try and justify the outrageous rental costs due to increased taxes. Hmmm. Doesn’t seem to deter increased building. What business or businesses in Oxford pay well enough for its citizens to rent $900 apartment?! Oxford’s Chamber of Commerce knows full well what they are doing. “If I raise the rent, don’t allow businesses to come in where people can make a decent living, they will pick up and move away.” The part-time jobs that ARE here are for students, they are certainly not jobs you can take care of a family.

Melissa Whithorn: Rent in Gainesville, Florida is cheaper than here. UF is a much bigger university, and Gainesville is a much bigger city than here. Rent is still cheaper there. Gainesville understands there’s a healthy mix of families and college students.

Angie Washington: There are no homes, apartment any thing in Oxford for low-income people if they won’t let you in housing then you have no here to go only for students and rich people it is horrible and they think that’s okay and the pay here sucks. You can’t make 7 or 8 dollars and pay from 700 and up for rent and have kids buy food, lights, etc. Someone needs to address this situation

Kim Lantrip: We live in Sardis and we both work in Oxford … been looking for a few months … can’t find affordable housing for just a family … can’t find anything less than 900 and that s an apartment … It’s almost like the FAMILY DOES NOT EXIST IN OXFORD.

Sabra Weeks: I pay $850 a month for a two bedroom duplex which is the same duplex community I rented when I was in undergrad in the 2000’s for $450 a month. When I moved here for a job in February there was almost no availability in anything other than places like highland square where I would be surrounded by students. I love where I live now, but being said it’s a heck of a lot more expensive than when I lived there previously. There are no affordable options.

Jessica Lynn Johnson: Me and my husband have 5 children together. Trying to find a decent place to rent for us all is impossible. Unless you have money or know someone that knows someone …you are screwed when it comes to things like this. I think Oxford needs to realize there is more than just students and old people that live here. I was born and raised here and always loved it. With all the additions they are building though I have yet to see anything being built to ensure our children have safe and fun things to do…and we wonder why all these young kids are getting into so much mischief and trouble. I cannot wait to get out of this over packed city!

Dottie Potts: We are looking to move and can’t find anything affordable. It’s me my husband and 2 year old. Even with two incomes we just can’t afford 800, 1200, dollars rent plus utilities. It’s not fair to the people who actually reside in Oxford and are just not here for college.

Colin Hall: I was born in Oxford and raised in Lafayette County Mississippi.(mostly). Once I became an adult and was on my own I found I was actually much better off moving out of state because now I make more money and I pay less for my overall cost of living, I never attended Ole Miss but I did attend Oxford High School and Northwest Mississippi Community College. I moved to Northeast Ohio in November of 2014. I sure miss home but I also have a family to raise and I have to do the logical thing. I pay $750 a month for a 3 bedroom 1 bath house with a huge basement and a two+ car garage. My friends and I have always said Oxford is full of too much “stupid money” where it cost more to live there than you can actually make even with a good working class job, not fast food or minimum wage but even a decent working class job. All the money in Oxford comes from out of town and out of state from parents paying for their kid to go to school.

Joan Redmond: Would love to rent in the city where I could walk to the library, stores, etc., but not affordable even for those with no children in the home. I have talked to many home owners that have property in town, and they cater to the college students where they can get 3x what a stable, quiet, clean, lawn caring tenant would do!

Anne Marie: I’ve been renting a 3br/2b for over almost 3 years paying $1050/mth. They told me in July they will raise the rent to $1300. I am forced to move but have yet to find anything affordable in Oxford that is suitable for my family. My lease is up end of July and nowhere to go yet. We will most likely have to move away from Oxford. Most of the rental prices are determined by bedrooms and geared toward students. Oxford rentals are definitely not family friendly.

Kala Thomas: You just can’t blame students. Students want affordable just as well. I told my parents how much it cost me to rent my place with roommates and they thought it $425 for the whole house instead of a bed space. They thought it was ridiculous to rent that per bed space. Do you really think students would pay those prices if they had a choice? I wouldn’t! I work to pay rent just as my roommates do. Everybody doesn’t have mama and daddy paying for rent.

Christopher Brackett: The housing situation in Oxford is ridiculous. My family of four has to move all the way to Tupelo because we depend on my $9 an hour job and everything is all student housing. We NEED a three bedroom space, and when you add up 500+ for each bed space … it’s crazy. The only two apartment buildings I found who don’t charge per bed space are full until December! When you only have two weeks to find somewhere to go…

Amanda Dobbs: Yeah, I have two small children and have been trying to find something affordable since the beginning of the year and it just isn’t possible. Sure, if my kids could pay $300 a month in rent, I might be getting somewhere, but I only have one income and it isn’t enough to cover the cost of living in oxford… no matter how crappy the place.

Cynthia McClain: Let’s not even mention that there is NO ONE in this county that accepts HUD vouchers. The list is almost 10 years+ long. Average rentals are geared towards students and their parents who can afford to pay for the year up front vs. a working family looking for a home. You can pull every rental from every company and I GUARANTEE the AVERAGE will be $1200 a month with zero amenities/utilities included! For every student complex being built in every nook and cranny of Lafayette county, how many multi family units have been built in the last 5 years in comparison. I can tell you easily, NONE! NOT A ONE! SO not only can we not afford to rent a home, we don’t even have apartment complexes to choose from, now add to that the closing of the complex on Lamar before you get to Saddle Creek, the “alleged” closing of Riverside aka Eastview, the overcrowding of Brittany Estates, the useless HUD vouchers program, the closing of the trailer park, uprooting families for an “outdoor mall” where does that leave the backbone of this town? The people that were born here? The people that are here when the students are gone? The people that WORK HARD for a living, and can’t even get a descent place to live? It’s tragic, indeed and truthfully, people are quite angry about it!

Shelly Parris: I’m a single mother of a teenage daughter and I pay $500 for a 2 br 1 bath. It could be better. Its not the best but it’s a roof over my head. The apartment isn’t worth 500 a month. I just get sick of seeing nothing but subleases and the houses I like in good wholesome neighborhoods are too dang high. I would need 3 jobs to afford anything here. It’s very frustrating that there are not more options for singles moms and residents who reside here all the time. Everything and I mean everything is geared towards students and student housing.

Tonja Jones: The situation for family housing is horrible. I was a single mother a company came in and bought the townhouses where I was living, shut down the club house and the pool then raised my rent by $300, forcing me to move.

Jeannie Carr Hopper: We moved here in November from Knoxville for my job at Ole Miss, and I was shocked. My husband and I have two kids and wanted to be in the city or county school range, and I was terrified my start date was going to come and we would not have a place to live. We pay $350 more per month than the larger home we had in Knoxville. It was extremely hard to find housing coming in from out of town, and we struggled with the online resources available. Ultimately, my husband came down in person and we ended up getting a weekend football rental home that they agreed to rent annually and remove their furniture – for a large monthly cost, of course. But, I had to move to start the new job so we had no choice.