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Rising housing costs affecting low income households

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - Pocatello native Leroy Otero had troubles with his housing situation in Caldwell, and decided it was best to move back to his hometown. 

"I came to Pocatello, and I got help right away with Aid for Friends," Otero said. "They put me in the shelter, and I stayed there for 30 days. My brother came down from Nampa, and he's gonna help me find an apartment."

Otero says they have been working tirelessly to get approved. 

"We’re hoping we get approved," Otero said. "We put in the application and paid the fees, so now we're just waiting."

It's a situation many low income households in Pocatello are facing 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports a person making minimum wage in idaho must work 76 hours a week to afford a one bedroom house or apartment. 

The non-profit organization also estimates a minimum wage worker can only afford $377 in rent per month, but the fair market rent for a one bedroom is almost double that rate in many areas. 

It's a problem that Aid For Friends Housing Manager Sharon Wakefield says is hitting Pocatello hard.

"The housing that's being built, contractors are going for what makes them more money, which makes sense if you're a business person," Wakefield said. "But it doesn't solve our problem with keeping homeless people off the street, because we need affordable places for the income levels that we're dealing with."

Adding to the problem, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Idaho ranks fifth in the nation when it comes to evictions or foreclosures, which could haunt low income renters looking for their next home. 

"You bring all of that luggage with you when you're looking for a place, and the landlords have a choice of who they want to rent to, and they weed out a lot of those people," Wakefield said.

Wakefield believes it's those low income individuals that need our help most. 

"Pocatello is a low income area overall, and unless you have housing that matches up with that, you are going to have a problem," Wakefield said.

Local News / Pocatello / Top Stories / Videos
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Cole Sams

Cole is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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1 Comment

  1. It’s not they are just building to make MORE money, the costs to build a house/condo/apartment building is expensive and only getting more expensive (especially with the Biden inflation only starting to hit), so an owner has to charge more for the rent. Just like the housing in this area…it’s skyrocketing out of control. Plus property taxes are only going up and up that is added into the costs of renting (or buying).

    If the luggage remarks means their credit history or the possibility they have been evicted….well that is true, but is a landlord going to rent to someone with a clean record and proof they can afford the place or a questionable person?

    I agree it is ludicrous what is being charged for rent in this area; and there is a rental two blocks from my house that is being rented for 2100 a month. I don’t think it is worth it, but it rented in a week so someone does.

    I will say a landlord when taking a credit app should only charge a very minimal fee to cover the costs of the credit check and calls for references. Reading what they do charge is rather exorbitant. But they have the goods people need.

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