North Carolina

The struggle to find affordable housing in the Charlotte region

YORK COUNTY, SC (WBTV) – “I can’t find a place to live that I could afford,” Shawn Ragin said.

Share the harsh reality of homelessness in our community. Ragin boldly shares his story of being more than a stigma from people living outside their cars or on the streets.

He works part-time and cannot find affordable housing.

Ragin is looking for a place to live in the Charlotte/Fort Mill area, describing some places as uninhabitable and costing upwards of $1,200 a month.

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WBTV’s Lowell Rose spent the day with Shawn Ragin about his day-to-day life, hoping to find a solution to what he felt was a temporary situation.

Ragin dreams of a simple home, but the cost of housing in the Charlotte and Fort Mill areas keeps him from doing so. A search process that has been going on for six months.

“I just want some help, I just want to be able to get my own place to live and have a place to turn my key and live,” Ragin said.

His story of homelessness is not what some would normally think.

“I have a job, I’m not out here holding up a sign and not begging for money or anything,” Ragin said, “I’ve decided to wash, I’ve decided to shave my face, I’ve decided to get a haircut if I want to.”

He has money, but tells WBTV it’s not enough to afford rent, down payments and the cost of moving into an apartment.

In the moments when he finds an apartment, Ragin tells WBTV it’s not safe or the conditions are bad.

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“When you get there you find out the place isn’t what they show online, so what are you doing, you’re back to square one and I’m tired of being back to square one,” Ragin said.

So where does he live while looking for affordable housing?

“Right now I stay in my car all the time, I stay at a grocery store and go from there to other grocery stores, but I live in my car,” Ragin said.

It’s a difficult situation for him as he works a night shift and he’s off work in the morning.

Ragin said: “It’s hard because it’s cold outside at night and dangerous outside at night, I have to look around, I can’t sleep all the time because I’m not sure if someone’s going to get over me or it’s trying to break into my car to to hurt me.”

The most recent housing condition report shows that Charlotte had an average rent of $1,567 and York County just under the $1,500 mark.

“Rents are ridiculous in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I think rents need to come down, you keep building new houses, but then you drive the rent so high that people can’t afford to live in them. ‘ Ragin said.

Despite the high cost of living in Charlotte, Ragin wants his situation to improve so he can stay here and make a living.

Ragin added: “I work hard, I work and I try to work constantly, all I want is some help for me and a resource that can provide me with a place to live and a place to live that I can.” I can afford. ”

Ragin tells WBTV he’s called for help in Charlotte and Fort Mill, but he keeps hitting roadblocks.

His goal is to find affordable housing that is safe and rents around $600 a month.

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