Does Tuscaloosa Have an Affordable Housing Crisis?
Take a drive down any main thoroughfare in Tuscaloosa and count how many sprawling student housing complexes you see.
Walk from the Quad to Downtown on University Boulevard and take note of how many towering condos have continued to worm their way into our Druid City skyline.
Complete a quick Google search for apartments within the city and look--really look--at the ridiculous amenities many new student housing complexes are offering: infinity pools, maid service, saunas--just to name a few.
Now imagine you're a single working parent trying to find a rental property that's within your budget.
It is--and I say this with experience--impossible.
Tuscaloosa is absolutely overrun with student housing. I do not understand why we're building more sprawling complexes when so many of the latest and greatest aren't even at full capacity.
I've lived in Tuscaloosa for the past eleven years and can't believe how much the city has changed since my arrival. When I moved in January of 2009, I was able to rent a small 3 bedroom home in Forest Lake for $740 a month.
When I looked for a new place in the same neighborhood this summer, the cheapest rental I could find was more than double this price.
I'm thankful I finally found an affordable rental, but I owe that more to luck than anything else. What if I hadn't stumbled across my now home on Facebook marketplace?
My other options were places that were at least $200 to $300 more A MONTH. If this doesn't seem like a lot of money to you, you're extremely fortunate. I am on a tight budget, and that's groceries, a power bill, clothes for my daughter.
What are Tuscaloosa families supposed to do? How long will we allow student complex developers to ruin our city in hopes of grabbing some quick cash?
I applaud Mayor Walt Maddox for his recent efforts in stopping these developments' detrimental impact on Tuscaloosa--but even Walt isn't getting the help he needs. His efforts have been derailed by student housing advocates, and in a recent Facebook post, he urged the citizens of Tuscaloosa to contact their local representatives to voice their dissent.
If you, like me, have had enough, I urge you to contact your City Council rep.
I think it's great that the University of Alabama is attracting students from across the United States, but we HAVE to do better by OUR residents. The people of Tuscaloosa need affordable housing now more than ever.