AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Authorities said someone earning minimum wage would need to work more than 100 hours a week to afford a one-bedroom apartment in eastern Ventura County. On average, a one-bedroom costs $1,040 a month countywide. Officials at the forum did not have breakdowns for the eastern portion. It would take an income of about $50,000 a year to afford a two-bedroom apartment with an average rent of $1,400 in the county, according to the Area Housing Authority of Ventura County. Still, demand for apartments is high, with only a 2 percent vacancy rate countywide, officials said. That means people are spending half to three-quarters of their income on rent, said Chris Poynter, program and development director for the Lutheran organization. “… It’s kind of a silent poverty, not right there in your face,” he said. Officials said only about 13 percent of county residents can afford to buy a median-priced home – well over $600,000 – and the lack of adequate rental housing is squeezing people out. “We are one of the very expensive areas for the state of California,” said Jamshid Damooei, a professor of economics at CLU. “It’s affecting young people tremendously. … Some of them may be working one place and living elsewhere. It’s a problem for our competitiveness, for attracting companies to come here.” Doug Tapking, executive director of the Area Housing Authority, said housing costs can exclude newcomers and young people starting out in careers that are essential to the community, including nursing, education and law enforcement. “If you don’t have these people, you don’t have a vibrant community,” he said. “Without that social interaction, our communities don’t work.” Simi Valley City Councilman Glen Becerra was not at the Wednesday forum but said the problem is a serious concern throughout the area. “To me it’s a tragedy, where your community can’t provide a decent place to live for hard-working families,” he said. “Really, the solution is to be able to use what land you have available more efficiently, but doing it in a very careful way so you protect the quality of life and don’t have overcrowding. … It’s about all the communities doing their part.” Eric Leach, (805) 583-7602 firstname.lastname@example.org 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THOUSAND OAKS – The high cost of renting apartments in Ventura County has gotten so bad that it’s threatening working people and making it difficult for young college graduates with good jobs to settle here, according to officials who attended a housing forum this week. “We see thousands of people each year who are in danger of eviction and have to choose between car repairs and their rent, or prescriptions and their rent,” said J.R. Jones, executive director of Lutheran Social Services of the Central Coast. “They are just on the fringe. They know they are in trouble, but many don’t realize how close they are to being homeless.” Lutheran Social Services helped sponsor a forum on the situation Wednesday at California Lutheran University that included authorities on the local housing crunch. The forum was sponsored by Lutheran Social Services, Manna Food Pantry of the Conejo Valley, Catholic Charities and the Ventura County Homeless and Housing Coalition and was held in conjunction with National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week.