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Affordable housing issues plague Oxford community

Our fairly new location of the Oxford EAGLE is basically an open area where we can all communicate and also hear a great deal since it is so wide open. It’s a great facility and I invite you to come by and take a look if you haven’t.

On Wednesday, as I was paginating — which is a fancy word for building the newspaper, I overheard a customer come into the office and was speaking with a member of our circulation department at the front counter. The lady came by to discontinue her newspaper, which always causes my ears to perk up. She was moving, but what caused me to really listen was the reason she gave.

“I can’t afford to live in Oxford any longer,” she said and was moving to the Delta.

Affordable housing — or the lack thereof — is something we all have heard over and over again as it plagues the LOU community.

To me, it is the single most important issue facing our community as more people continue to relocate here and the student population at Ole Miss continues to outgrow the demand for housing. I think we can all agree that our elected officials recognize the problem, but it seems that there are no easy answers to solving the issue.

It seems that once a week we report in some form about another meeting or discussion involving affordable housing. Just last week, another such meeting was held at Ole Miss where elected officials, experts and people in the community came together to discuss the housing issue.

In particular, a key topic apparently was Riverside Place, the affordable housing complex that has displaced several families since it was announced it would be closing. But there was also talk about how to solve the affordable housing problem in general with solutions ranging from giving tax credits to developers to construct more affordable housing to building a newer version of Riverside Place.

Whatever the solution, our community needs to continue the dialogue but also take action in seeking a solution to the affordable housing problem — and quickly — before there are more people like Wednesday’s customer coming to the conclusion they can no longer afford to live in our community.

Maybe someday she’ll be able to afford returning to Oxford to live.

Rob Sigler is managing editor of The Oxford
EAGLE. Contact him at rob.sigler@oxfordeagle.com.