ECU Students Face Lack of Affordable Housing - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

ECU Students Face Lack of Affordable Housing

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ADA, OK--For full-time college students, finding affordable housing can be a challenge. Especially when there's not much to choose from. Students in one Texoma town are bringing that  issue to the table. 

About 50 students attended a forum Wednesday night on East Central's Centennial Plaza. The issue at hand? Limited affordable housing options. Students told us what is available and what they are living in is subpar.    
 
"Yes, but there is still a safety issue, am I right? Or is there not a safety issue falling through the floor of your house?" asked one ECU student. 

A panel comprised of two students, community development director Todd Kennemer and two local landlords sat before students to hear their housing concerns.

One woman said: "You're going to find places that are asking $475 a month. For example, I found one that didn't have a front door."

Right now, Ada has only 22 houses for rent of the almost 7,000 in the area. This puts students who are looking for off-campus arrangements in a bind.  

"The money that we can spend is about $400-$600 a month," said student Jackie Coats.

Student Terrance Bonner said his search for a low-cost home has come up dry.

"Holes in the floor, leaking ceilings, just all kinds of problems. I'd rather live in the dorms than live in a house I wouldn't let my dog live in," said Bonner.

Landlords said, at the end of the day, renting is a business of supply and demand.  

Kennemer says living conditions really are as bad as the students say.  

"A lot of the housing in college towns, you just have slum lords," said Kennemer. "And students need a place to live."

At the end of the night, students slept in cardboard boxes on campus to get their point across. Many said it's their next option to renting hazardous homes.

"It's either that or the box," said one woman to the panel.

Kennemer tells us future housing plans might include tearing down older residences and rebuilding low-cost rental homes. Wednesday night's forum was set up by one of East Central's American government classes.