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‘It’s dehumanizing’: Hillsboro low-income tenants face rent increase

The highest rent can be increased in Oregon this year is by 9.9%, according to the state’s Office of Economic Analysis. Some got notice of a 33% increase.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — A low-income tenant at an apartment building in Hillsboro says he's facing a rent increase of more than $300 a month. He's one of many at the Alma Gardens apartments who received a notice that their rent will climb in November.

Several of Alma Gardens' tenants told KGW that they could be facing homelessness because of the coming rent hike.

Michael Eversole has been living in the complex for three years. Before that he was homeless.

“I lived in a truck for about a year and a half, running around Beaverton, Hillsboro, being chased from one parking lot to another,” he said.

Eversole now has a Section 8 housing voucher and lives off his Social Security income, which is about $1,600 a month.

He just received notice from Income Property Management Company that his rent will go up by $362 a month starting in November.

“There’s no way my budget can hold that,” said Eversole. “I’m broke a week before pay day as it is.”

RELATED: Oregon landlords can raise rents 14.6% next year

Generally speaking, the highest that rent can be increased in Oregon this year is by 9.9%, according to the state’s Office of Economic Analysis. Eversole is facing a 33% increase.

Eversole said that he tried reaching out to his property management and housing authority but couldn't get answers. Since he's on a Section 8 housing voucher he pays one third of the rent and the housing voucher helps with the rest. 

The Washington County Housing Authority, which provides thousands of Section 8 vouchers to support low-income tenants, tells KGW when tenants face a rent increase like Eversole's the vast majority is covered by the Housing Choice Voucher program, as long as the rent is lower than the voucher payment standard, which is typically the case for affordable housing like Alma Garden Apartments. 

“I wasn’t surprised, everything’s going up ... but I’m not happy about it,” said Scott Duke, who also lives at Alma Garden apartments. He received a similar notice telling him his rent would be raised. He lives on a fixed income and worries he won’t be able to afford it.

RELATED: New tiny-home village in NE Portland offers low-barrier housing for homeless people

“Means I’ll be probably living up in the mountains by the river somewhere in a tent,” Duke added.

“It’s like dehumanizing. It’s very dehumanizing, it just takes away from us,” added Eversole.

In the event of a rent increase, the Washington County Housing Authority works with landlords to support tenants with Section 8 vouchers and in most cases, the voucher absorbs most of the rent increase. 

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