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Affordable housing crisis: How a single mom found hope after homelessness

Posted: 11:03 AM, Apr 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-26 14:20:11-04
Several Treasure Valley residents have been priced out of their homes recently due to low vacancy, rising costs, and stagnant wages.

TREASURE VALLEY, Idaho — With more people moving to the Treasure Valley, getting approved for an apartment is harder than ever-- that is-- if you can afford one.

A report by Apartment Guide revealed Boise experienced the fifth highest rent increases in all of US Cities last year. The surrounding cities are also feeling that impact.

Before Deandrea Chavez was a thriving college student, she says there was a time she had $50 dollars to her name.

"Being a single parent-- it was difficult," said Chavez.

It was after she and her daughter were priced out of their apartment.

"It started at 600 [dollars]... and then it went to like 625, and then it went to 650, and then he wanted to raise it like another 25 dollars. It was like every six months," said Chavez.

Essentially, she and her daughter were priced out and forced into homelessness. So, they lived with family for a while.

"It was kinda difficult ya know living with other people and stuff."

Chavez's story-- experts say-- is becoming increasingly common in the Treasure Valley.

"Rent is rising at a rapid rate, and our wages aren't keeping up with that, so that makes for difficulty," said Andy Rodriguez, Executive Director, Nampa Housing Authority.

Leaders in local housing programs say they're seeing more demand for their services than ever.

"We're going on year four of having a two percent vacancy rate in our community. And a healthy vacancy rate is anywhere between like five and eight percent," said Stephanie Day, Executive Director, CATCH.

But it is not just the lack of available units or rising rent costs; good luck getting approved with an application that isn't perfect.

"When there are 20 different applicants for a unit it makes it very difficult for your application to be selected," said Day.

"I have a buddy who is a property manager, and he gets a unit open, and there's already somebody ready for it, before he asks to take applications or anything," said Rodriguez.

But Day said, thankfully, we are not gone; there are things we can do now to prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control.

"It requires developers and it requires people in the community embracing new development," said Day.

Chavez said her silver lining was Nampa Housing Authority. The organization helped her get into an affordable unit.

"Without Nampa Housing, I would probably be in like a shelter or something," said Chavez.

With the housing provided by that program, Chavez said she is doing better recently. She said she will graduate from college soon, and that Nampa Housing Authority representatives helped her create a savings account for buying a home soon.

"My advice is: don't give up!" said Chavez.

To learn more about housing programs and resources, visit CATCH or Nampa Housing .