Local organizations offer alternative student-housing options

Michael Eubanks, News Contributor

With high costs for tuition and books, as well as minimal pay for most part-time and entry-level jobs, some Oregon State University students have a difficult time finding affordable housing. According to a 2016 report by the Oregon Housing and Community Services, 37 percent of households, slightly over one in every three are labeled as severely rent burdened. This is the highest percentage in any city over 10,000 in Oregon. Severely rent-burdened households are defined as households that spend more than 50 percent of income on rent.

There are multiple organizations in Corvallis, however, that can help students in need of housing assistance. These organizations include Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, Community Services Consortium and the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence. 

Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services

 Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services works to provide affordable housing specifically to seniors, people with disabilities, veterans, families and households with children in Linn and Benton Counties.  Rebecka Weinsteiger, Community Engagement Manager at WNHS has worked with OSU students in the past as tenants of the organizations affordable housing. 

“We are in a housing crisis and affordable housing options can be hard to find.  No one should have to choose between paying rent or putting food on the table,” Weinsteiger said.

Students who apply to WNHS for services must meet income eligibility requirements specific to each household.  Students must be over 24 years old, though individuals under 24 who can prove independence from parents or guardians may be eligible.

In addition to providing affordable housing, the organization also helps members of the community who are interested in saving up for their first home.

“We have a match savings program for folks that qualify, to help them save up for a down payment. We have homebuyer education workshops and as funding is available, there are certain times where we are able to offer assistance programs for folks who are at risk for foreclosure,” Weinsteiger said. 

Community Services Consortium

 In addition to providing food, educational and employment assistance, Community Services Consortium provides housing assistance to low income individuals and families in Linn, Benton and Lincoln County. 

“Our mission is to help people in these communities access tools and resources to overcome poverty and build brighter, more stable futures,” said Joshua Stanley, the Eligibility Navigator at CSC.

The organization provides rent and utility assistance for low-income households who are struggling to pay bills, as well as Renter education classes specialized in helping individuals who are having a difficult time finding a landlord who will rent to them better market themselves to landlords and be desirable tennants. 

Eligibility for services CSC offers is based on income, and students looking to utilize CSC’s services will need to provide current income information. 

Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence 

 The Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence serves both Linn and Benton Counties and provides free, confidential services for victims, including housing.

“We have emergency shelters where we provide housing for people that need a safe location to go to after they’ve experienced sexual assault or domestic violence. [The shelters] are single family homes where people have a room or the space that they need to get on their feet again,” said Letetia Wilson, the Executive Director of CARDV.

The organization owns all of the homes, which feature standard bedrooms and beds. Victims may live in the homes with others.

“You might be staying with other people who have experienced violence and are also trying to get on their feet,” Wilson said.

In addition to providing free housing, the organization also helps victims find places to rent within the community. 

“We can help connect them with rental companies or people that are renting in the community so that they can move into a safe place. We also connect to financial resources in the community if they need help with money,” Wilson said.

The organization is available for everyone, including OSU students. Wilson also stated that although the organization’s offices are located in south Corvallis, students do not have to come directly to the offices to access CARDV’s services. A representative from the group can come onto OSU’s campus and meet a victim in a safe, confidential area. The organization can be reached at their 24-hour crisis support line, and all phone calls are confidential.

“Everything we do is confidential. We don’t release any information that we get from people to anybody,” Wilson said.

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