Sunday, February 3, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

Trey Smith


When Della signed onto AmeriCorps, we sent an introduction letter to the various property management firms in the Columbia Gorge. This letter explained our own unique circumstances plus we included a standard note from the Washington Service Corps. The latter sheet explained the mission of the Washington Service Corps/AmeriCorps and asked potential landlords to consider waiving or lowering the fees associated with property applications, security deposits and/or monthly rents. The idea here is that, since AmeriCorps volunteers are choosing to serve local communities, those communities can give back by offering some modest financial breaks to the volunteers.

It is a nice sentiment, but it doesn't appear to be playing out in the real world, at least, not the real world in the Columbia Gorge!

One firm responded immediately by telling Della they had nothing to offer. A second firm seemed far more enthusiastic and the representative told Della that they were willing to "work with her." Unfortunately, as Della learned yesterday, "working with her" simply meant that they were willing to show her apartments and houses with no special financial considerations. This covered the apartment she looked at on Saturday. The large security deposit requested makes renting that place prohibitive.

Look, we aren't expecting someone to offer Della a $10,000/month apartment for $100. We realize in this financial climate that landlords -- just like everybody else -- need to pay their bills. On the other hand, we were hopeful that her decision to serve in the Washington Reading Corps would mean something to these companies. It would say something about her character as a caring person.

Sadly, the situation seems to be solely about money. If you have wads of cash, there are a plethora of choices to choose from. If you don't, then tough luck.

Since we keep striking out in the White Salmon/Hood River area, we're now taking a look at some of the housing choices in The Dalles, Oregon. The Dalles is the largest town in the area (population of around 13,600), but it is located 25 miles southeast of White Salmon. If we strike out there too, then it looks like Della is on her own until the middle of July and I'm stranded here without a car.

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