Housing Watch: Some Valley families still struggling to find affordable housing

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Thursday, November 25, 2021
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The hot housing market has many homeowners pleased to see a boost in their property value but many families continue to struggle to find a rental unit they can afford.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Over 25% of Fresno County families were estimated to live at or below the poverty level.

The increase in rental unit pricing has moved many families farther away from affordable housing.

An apartment complex taking shape across from the Fresno Fire Department training tower in downtown Fresno will serve some of the city's neediest residents.

Unfortunately for low-income families, it won't be complete for another year.

Fresno Housing Chief Real Estate Officer Mike Duarte said, "That will deliver 57 affordable units there in Chinatown."

We talked to Duarte about how much people needed to earn just to be able to cover the average rent in Fresno.

The calculations were made by the California Housing Partnership.

Duarte explained, "The average rent at this point in time was just over $1,000 and if we break it down to hourly, would be about $20.50 would be the average. That's about $42,000 per year for a household."

Rental prices though continued to trend upward with steady demand and the completion of new, luxury apartment complexes.

Leadership Council Housing Policy Coordinator Jovana Morales-Tilgren said, "They're for moderate and above moderate-income, so people that need it can't access it. I think people are just really frustrated."

Research by the California Housing Partnership also indicated 36,523 people in Fresno County did not have access to affordable housing.

Morales-Tilgren said, "Many of these families have nowhere to go. They usually move in with family, other families so they have multiple families living under one roof. There is very little access to affordable housing."

Duarte added just 40% of the families issued vouchers for Section 8 housing were actually able to find a unit because of the high demand.

He worried the homeless count will rise as head into the holidays.