Malden rent prices skyrocket and leave families homeless

forrentsignAn internet search for rent prices in Malden will bring up countless webpages all promising affordable prices. Gateway at Malden Center Apartments is offering studios to two bedrooms for $1890-$2885, Residence at Malden Station Apartments are offering studios to two bedrooms for $1917 to $3176, and Malden Gardens is offering one to two bedroom apartments for $1550-$2250. Why are apartments so expensive in Malden?

Malden is gaining momentum and attention because of its culturally diverse restaurants, thriving art scene, strong school system and easy accessibility to Boston. Malden is also becoming increasingly popular with graduate students. Realtor Zac Engle said that students are now willing to travel to Malden to live because of its quiet and laid back city vibe.

“Traditionally students lived in Allston and Brighton but they’ve become so inundated with students that students, particularly older graduate students, are seeking areas with a quieter night life, so they can concentrate on their studies. It’s on the Orange Line and becoming more popular because people are willing to travel that far now,” said Engle.
Due to the housing demand in Malden there is no price limit for rent which leads many families to be forced to move out of their home with their families because they can no longer afford rent. As of May 22, 2014, there were approximately 4,600 families with children and pregnant women in Massachusetts’ Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter program according to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.

Often times, shelters cannot accommodate the influx of families needing shelter. Housing Families in Malden’s Assistant Director of Shelter, Stabilization, and Eviction Prevention Laura Rosi said that many families are homeless due to the lack of affordable housing.

“The wait list for affordable housing can be anywhere from two to 10 years,” said Rosi.

Housing Families has emergency houses in Malden, Everett and Medford, however, they are full and there isn’t enough income based housing for them to place more families. The programs for stabilization are there but the beds are not. Motels are not a permanent solution or economically viable.

A homeless gentleman who wanted to be identified as Alex T. found a safe haven in the Hope House, a treatment center for people with substance use disorders (SUD). He entered the shelter system after serving an 18 month prison sentence.

“The people at Hope House are and always will be incredible,” said Alex T.

After graduating from Hope House, Alex found a sober house and  found employment as a cook. He said he “messed it up” and is now too embarrassed to go back to the people that helped him.

“My parents are old, my mother’s 74 years old. I don’t want to bother her or scare her,” said Alex T who spends most of his nights sleeping on the streets or overcrowded shelters.

In 2012, the State Department of Housing and Community Development budgeted $46 million in the current year for motels compared to $36 million for rental voucher program which provides more stable housing said Nathan Lamb in an article written for Wicked Local. Today, there is still a lack of section 8 housing leaving more and more citizens with little to no options.

-Amber Nowak

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