During the Fall 2016 semester, Oxford Stories reporters attended an Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting, where they learned about affordable housing and cost of living issues that Oxford and Lafayette County residents face. Students wrote a series of stories on those topics during the semester. You can read them below.
We will continue to follow this story this semester when Oxford Stories resumes publication next week.
Last week, University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism student reporters, who write for OxfordStories.net, a news website and wire service that sends their stories to local news publications, were asked to attend their first Oxford Board of Aldermen meeting.
During the meeting, the board discussed raising the salaries of the mayor and board of aldermen, affordable housing issues, parking problems and a few other city topics. We asked the student journalists their impression of witnessing city government in action for the first time.
Oxford city leaders are discussing ways to deal with affordable housing issues. In the first story of a series on the topic, we asked college students and Oxford residents if they believe it is affordable to live in Oxford.
During a recent board of aldermen meeting, a proposed affordable housing development was discussed. In order to build the development, woods in the Oxford Creek area off of Molly Barr Road would have to be cleared, and some residents have voiced opposition.
According to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, approximately 31 percent of households are comprised of renters who earn a mean wage of $10.64 per hour.
That means, in Mississippi towns like Oxford, renters have to work 78 hours every week to afford a fair-market rent of $732 per month for two-bedroom housing.
In the second of a series on affordable housing, we asked Oxford students and residents their thoughts about the issue.
It takes many people to make the city of Oxford work as a whole, but some Oxford workers cannot afford to live here. In the third story of a series, we asked Oxford residents and college students their thoughts on the need for affordable housing in Oxford.
Sam Smallwood, a general business major and economics minor at the University of Mississippi, who is also a local real estate agent, said he believes it’s difficult to have affordable housing in Oxford because of the University of Mississippi.
Oxford Mayor Pat Patterson said affordable housing is one of the most pressing issues the city faces, and city leaders are trying to find solutions.
“There is a huge need for affordable housing in some shape or form. It’s a difficult issue that we have several different groups working on. We have a lot of eyes on the problem.” – Mayor Pat Patterson
Being a student that resides off campus can be expensive. Some students have to live miles from campus to find an apartment that fits their budget. In the first story of a series on the cost of living in Oxford, we ask students and residents how they are making ends meet in Oxford.
University of Mississippi student Zay Travis said it can be expensive living in Oxford.
“I maintain paying rent and going to school by working my campus job at the Yerby Center and saving throughout the summer and other holiday breaks.” – Zay Travis
It can be financially challenging to live in Oxford. Some take out loans. Others pay out of pocket by working multiple jobs. In the second story of a series, we look at the cost of living in Oxford, and ask how students are making ends meet in the city.
UM students John Paul Bieller, Jaquann King and Alexandria Wraggs all have different ways of handling the cost of living in Oxford. Bieller lived in Brown Hall his freshman year and paid for housing through student loans.
“I now live off campus off of Jackson Avenue, and I still pay my rent through student loans. I have two jobs currently. One of those jobs is being a radio host for Rebel Radio, but unfortunately, it is now a volunteer job this semester.” – John Paul Bieller
With the Tiny House Movement trend sweeping the nation, some believe building a tiny home community in Oxford could be one solution to help solve affordable housing issues.
Preston Sellers, a UM junior, said it would be nice to have a tiny housing payment bill.
“Places like The Retreat at Oxford or The Hub usually fill up fast, so I know a lot of other students who end up having to pay more for a place to live for the semester. I pay out-of-state tuition too, so having another larger bill can get stressful.” – Preston Sellers