Rental costs on the rise across Mid Michigan
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - As rental rates continue to climb, tenants in Mid-Michigan are struggling to keep up.
The cost of housing is climbing across the board, but for people renting month to month, the financial pressure is quickly growing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 28% of housing units in Michigan are occupied by renters.
Having recently moved from the suburbs of Illinois to Holt, Kahleea Washington said the cost to rent doesn’t look too different. But that doesn’t mean it’s reasonable, especially when considering the quality of her near 900-dollar-per-month, one-bedroom apartment.
“You just have to take what you can get for the most part,” she said. “It’s your house; you need a place to stay.”
In the last year alone, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development shows Fair Market Rental costs increasing by about $100 in Eaton, Ingham, Clinton and Jackson counties. For Lansing area renters like Danielle White, more money coming out of her pocket for housing means less to spend on other living expenses suffering from inflation.
“I just think it’s unfairly going up for whatever reason,” she said. “$100 increase is a big increase.”
“I really struggle for that,” White added. “Everything I pay goes to bills. I don’t have a lot left over for food.”
One local advocacy group, called The Rent Is Too Darn High, has been ringing its bell in the Capitol area, looking to give a voice to struggling renters.
“When truth is shared in safe spaces, that shame drops immediately,” said organizer and local activist Kelsey Brianne. “And so, I think it’s important that people gather and say, this happened to me.”
The organization is planning to protest high rental costs at the Capitol on Sep. 5. Brianne said the more than 600 people who have committed to attending the protest are also asking for an end to Michigan’s rent control ban, and the addition of a renters’ bill of rights.
“You hear these horror stories, like choosing medicine, or choosing food over housing, but housing ultimately is a human right,” she said.
If they can make enough noise, Brianne is hopeful that lawmakers will take action in the weeks following their protest.
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