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Renters being priced out of housing options
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Journal Readers Sound Off on Stanislaus County Rental Market

"It seems the price of rent goes up but the pay doesn't! My experience has been renting from people that are in foreclosure but don't disclose that to the renter until it's too late. Yet they still collect rent!"
- Beverly Willis

"Way too expensive for what the average person makes in this economy. I work for a mortgage company and right now with prices and interest rates being so low you can have your house payment for the amount an apartment is in Turlock. $800 a month ... at least you are putting your money toward an investment instead of wasting it on a condo or ...apartment that hasn't been remodeled since the 1980s!"
- Erin Genest

"But the problem with buying is coming up with down payment not many families have money to do that! I have a household of 6 and it's hard to make it cause people wanna raise rent and or not rent to family do to size of people. You can't win; there is no break for people to get on their feet and provide a solid foundation, at least I haven't found one!"
- April Morales

"I moved to Colorado (and) I can actually live comfortably. A three bedroom house here goes for 700.00 to 850.00 with large yards. Rental homes in Turlock are beyond fixer uppers and landlords are slow at repairing a leaky roof or the 1970s stove that is so greasy on the outside you can't turn the knob and the oven only heats to 100 degrees and they have the nerve to ask for a cleaning deposit that is more than the rent."
- Linda Quintana

"I found rent more affordable here than in Amador County. Scary!"
- Brandy Astwood


The dream of becoming a homeowner burst for countless individuals when the housing market collapsed and now even the hope of renting a decent residence is slipping further away from them, according to a new report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

The report, “Out of Reach 2012,” indicated that 57 percent of renters in Stanislaus County are unable to afford a typical two-bedroom apartment.

The Fair Market Rent for a two bedroom apartment in the county is $952 according to the coalition. At that price, a Stanislaus County worker would need to earn $18.31 an hour, or more than $38,000 annually, to afford a two bedroom apartment.

Instead, the hourly income average for a Stanislaus County worker is $11.35, bringing in just over $23,000 annually, according to the report’s figures.

The news for renters across the state was just as disheartening. California is one of the most expensive states to rent in; second only to Hawaii.

The truth is California has been well behind in housing production for decades,” said Rob Wiener, executive director at California Coalition for Rural Housing, which released the report locally. “The current supply of affordable rental homes has remained static while the demand continues to grow. This has been exacerbated by the slashing of housing funds at all levels, funds that have effectively created housing options in the past.”

In California, a minimum wage worker earns an hourly wage of $8. In order to afford the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment, a minimum wage earner must work 130 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or a household must include 3.3 minimum wage earners working 40 hours per week year-round in order to make the two-bedroom Fair Market Rent affordable.

In California, the estimated average wage for a renter is $17.68. In order to afford the Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment at this wage, a renter must work 59 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. Or, working 40 hours per week year-round, a household must include 1.5 workers earning the mean renter wage in order to make the two-bedroom Fair Market Rent affordable.


In Stanislaus County a worker making the average wage would need to log 64 hours a week to afford the Fair Market Rent on a two bedroom apartment.

Turlock resident Dawn Vickery, 43, is well aware of the rental disparity in Stanislaus County.

For years the part-time paraeducator for the Turlock Unified School District has been trying to rent an apartment for herself and her 17-year-old son, but the rental requirement of earning an income three times that of the rent puts her $900 a month earnings out of contention.

“Even a studio apartment is out of reach,” Vickery said. “The rent here is not matching up with the local income. Renters are competing with people who have lost their homes and we’re being priced out and having to rely on the generosity of family and friends to keep a roof over our heads.”