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Thursday, June 30, 2022

Marion County resident discusses housing issue

To the Editor:

I moved here in 2005 so I’m not a native here, but part of the unwritten and unspoken issue is the lack of decent and affordable housing for the lower-middle class to the middle class. Home prices have doubled, and in some cases tripled, so purchasing a home is, in all reality, unattainable.

Rent for even a single-wide trailer has exploded to $1,200 to $2000 per month. The girl who cuts my hair is in an apartment, and the rent in her whole building went up by $500 per month. How is a single mom or dad supposed to afford this increase without sacrificing even more of their time with their children, just for another entry level job to make up for the cost of living?

I have to move out of a house I’ve been renting for eight years. I’m so frustrated and dismayed at our current situation. I’ve been on the hunt now for three months and it’s all property management companies. Every time you find a suitable place that’s only been on the market for two days, there are already 70 to 100 applications ahead of you, all requiring a $50 to $100 application fee. Do the math: that’s between $5,000 to $10,000 per week in application fees alone.

Then only one lucky person gets accepted based on a background check that’s worse than a gun purchase. I pass it, but I can’t seem to get there along with the nearly 100 other folks, and then the process begins again with another internet search. The “oh, that place is perfect,” the next application fee, and the next, “I’m sorry it’s been rented.”

I’m 58, and never in my life has it ever been this hard to locate and find a residence. I don’t know what the answer is, but if it’s truly 1,000 people who are moving to the area per week, is it really expected to be sustainable to keep this as a nice and livable town? I don’t know the answer.

I know the hospitals, fire rescue, and police presently are massively understaffed per our population, especially at our current rate of growth. Simple common sense dictates that the infrastructure cannot, and will not, handle it. There will come a day of reckoning as we reach the breaking point.

So, as I stated, I don’t know how to fix current issues, but there is a serious and real housing issue here, and most people don’t know about it or realize it’s going on. People are being played and manipulated to line the pockets of out-of-state investors at the expense of our own people. Either it slows naturally, or we lose what this county is known for, and it turns into just another big city with big city problems.

I would venture a guess that most people want it to remain as it is, but if nothing is done and people keep their head in the sand, and personal monetary wealth rules the day, then I fear this wonderful, nice, quaint area of Florida will be lost forever to the growth and massive prosperity for a few at the cost of the many. It will come back to bite them one day as they will no longer have their ivory towers to run to. Just the thoughts and musings of a 70’s and 80’s relic. May God protect us all.

Charles Coomes
Summerfield resident

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