Letter: A gentrified and homogenized Asheville

Graphic by Lori Deaton

A local restaurateur recently posted his belief that people in Asheville are just lazy (while he was looking for someone to rent his tiny basement for $1,500). It really ticked me off and let me know how out of touch some folks are with the reality in Asheville.

If you need to pay rent in Asheville, you will need to consider this elementary math problem: A two-bedroom rental in this town is $1,500. You might find something slightly lower if you have no pets and fit the landlord’s wishes exactly. You’ll also find opportunists charging $1,500 for one-bedroom basement apartments. Every place wants you to apply (for a fee) and qualify at three times the rent with a long work history proving that.

So, $1,500 times three equals $4,500 per month. Taking a job that pays less than $4,500 a month means we will have to leave town. It’s not a case of the lazies, just people knowing simple math.

Supposedly, the living wage is now at $17/hour, but — $17 times 30 hours (they don’t want to pay benefits) equals $510/week. Not quite to the halfway mark for the goal of $4,500 for the month.

Let’s say the employer is willing to pay full time, plus benefits: $17 times 40 hours equals $680. $680 times 4.2 weeks equals $2,856. Again, not even close for this single mom to be able to afford even a two-bedroom apartment to share with my two teen sons. For that, I need a full-time job at about $27/hour.

I have a postgraduate degree and over 20 years of work experience. Jobs pay terribly here. If the ratio of wages to housing cost doesn’t get under control for the creative working schlubs of this town, we will all have to go. Asheville is not gonna stay weird under these conditions — you’re pricing the weirdos right out of town.

— Amy Meier


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3 thoughts on “Letter: A gentrified and homogenized Asheville

  1. Lou

    Agreed. Surrounded by Trumpers and snotty WASPs, I have been cheated by two unscrupulous landlords, both white, both male, both wealthy contractors. I have a master’s degree and years of work experience as well and the only work I can find that pays what I am worth is online so I can work anywhere now. I AM DONE. Nothing is changing, been waiting to see for years. Done.

  2. V.S. Anderson

    I’d like to know how in the world people are pricing their tiny little apartments at big-city prices. We don’t live in a big city. Is there ANY regulation here in Buncombe County for landlords for how much they can charge for their little bitty spaces? Seems to me there should be some kind of regulation involved to keep us from seeing such inflationary schemes.

  3. NFB

    “Asheville is not gonna stay weird under these conditions”

    Let’s face it. Asheville was never really all that weird to begin with.

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