Photo by Steffi Kutcher | Orange Media Network
Several local groups provide services to meet variety of needs.
In Corvallis, 37 percent of households are labeled severely rent burdened, according to the American Community Survey. Severe rent burden is defined as paying over half of one’s income on housing costs, such as rent and utilities. Corvallis has the highest percentage of severely rent burdened households in Oregon cities with over 10,000 people.
The Community Services Consortium, Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services and the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence are three organizations located in Corvallis which provide housing assistance. Students or community members in need of non-traditional housing may find assistance within these organizations.
Community Services Consortium
The Community Services Consortium’s mission is to provide assistance to people in poverty in the Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, according to Dina Eldridge, the CSC housing services manager.
Though the CSC provides other services, housing is a major focus. The organization offers assistance to homeless or evicted individuals and programs to help current homeowners and tenants afford maintenance costs. It also provides aid for moving costs, such as a safety deposit, Eldridge added.
“If they are homeless, living in their car or couchsurfing, not having a permanent place to live—we can help with that,” Eldridge said.
Renters or homeowners can utilize programs through CSC to help manage the costs of home maintenance, Eldridge said. Individuals can apply for assistance with paying utilities, especially during winter months, and for free home maintenance such as weather-proofing and insulation.
All programs through the CSC are based on income, Eldridge said. Students seeking aid need to provide income information and proof they are currently homeless or have an eviction notice, if necessary for the program.
Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services
Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services works to provide affordable housing specifically to veterans, families and households with children in the Corvallis area. Jim Moorefield, executive director of WNHS, has worked with OSU students in the past as tenants of the organization’s properties.
“When I say affordable, in my world that has a particular definition to it,” Moorefield said. “We say people with modest means shouldn’t pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing. There’s a lot of households in Corvallis that are spending more than half of their income on housing, and that gets to be a problem if you don’t have a lot of money and are trying to make ends meet.”
Those who use WNHS services must also meet income eligibility requirements specific to each household, Moorefield said. Students who apply must be over 24 years old, though individuals under 24 who can prove independence from parents or guardians are eligible.
WNHS housing is located throughout the Corvallis community, including locations near the OSU campus. Each property has its own amenities, property manager and waitlist, Moorefield added.
“In general, we have certain standards of size and quality that would be comparable to newer apartments around town,” Moorefield said. “The problem for students when it comes to housing, is that (the places they find) aren’t newer and quality tends to vary a lot.”
Students who meet the guidelines of WNHS tenants can peruse the WNHS website to find the location that suits their needs. Then they can contact the property manager associated with the listing to secure a place on the
waitlist, Moorefield added.
Center Against Rape And Domestic Violence
Students in need of finding safe housing during the academic year can find assistance through the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence.
The organization’s mission is to provide services and support to people impacted by sexual assault and domestic violence. This includes a safe housing arrangement if needed, as well as support groups, medical advocacy, legal support and more, said Executive Director of CARDV, Letetia Wilson.
“All services are confidential and can be anonymous, if needed,” Wilson said. “We compliment services offered on campus by offering transportation and 24-hour in-person and phone support. Housing is for those needing a safe, confidential location due to domestic violence or sexual assault.”
Every one of CARDV’s resources are available to students. To access these services, individuals can call their crisis and support hotline which is available 24/7, Wilson added.
“I don’t hear a lot of students going to a bigger voice to help with their housing needs,” Moorefield said. “There are lots of students who are here awhile and struggle to find housing they can afford. It’s not good for the student or our community or our future when students can’t find affordable housing.”