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Updated 11:00am - Nov 26, 2014

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Rental options not meeting wage demands

By Cornelia de Bruin

Triplicate staff writer

With no bright prospects on the horizon as 2006 winds down, the search for affordable rentals in Crescent City remains limited both by income and availability.

Jeannine Galatioto, the county's chief administrative officer, doesn't have statistics from which she can cite information, but recalls conversations with fellow workers frustrated by the minimal housing choices in this area.

A simple glance at the Classified section illustrates the point.

One- and two-bedroom rental homes listed in Friday's The Daily Triplicate started at $550 for a mobile home about 19 miles south of Crescent City and topped out at $900.

The same sized apartment ranged between $450 and $700.

Three-bedroom living spaces — the size more likely to be needed by a family with several children — ranged from $650 to $1,350.

Wages paid here kept residents' per capita income at $18,893 in 2003, the most recent year whose records are available from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Generally, paying 30 percent of one's wages toward housing is considered reasonable. That translates to $472 a month – at the low end of rentals.

The amount is slightly more affordable in a duo-income family, though for couples with children, day care then becomes an expense.

The other part of the story lies in availability, however. Thursday's Classifieds included only two one-bedroom rentals.

Dennis Burns, who recently garnered a full term as Crescent City mayor, knows of no immediate plans for housing that could relieve the dearth of available rentals for the working poor population segment.

"A complex between Joe Hamilton School (1050 E. Street) and Pacific is on the back burner," he said. "I know of no others."

TAB & Associates, which handles more rental properties than any other single business here, "concurs" there is a problem.

"I would be willing to undertake something like that," said Thomas Barnes, TAB owner. Crescent City needs a 75-unit project.

Barnes' company has properties in several other areas. He compares the need he serves in Lincoln City, Ore. to Crescent City. TAB's properties there rent from the $400s to $600s per month.

TAB's Crescent City subdivision rents homes in the $950-month range.

Local residents at the bottom of the income spectrum can access help to pay for their rent through local subsidized and Section 8 housings.

Although help is there for lower income residents the number of people seeking shelter lengthens the process for them.

"The list is long for subsidized housing," said Gary Blatnick, director of the county's Health and Social Services departments.

Blatnick acknowledged that while rents have gone up, people's incomes have not kept pace with them.

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