Squeezed: Post-fire housing market hits renters especially hard

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Photo by akka b. photography
Ray Powers surveys the remains of the Matilija Hot Springs property he lived in before the Thomas Fire.
Andra Belknap, Ojai Valley News reporter
When Becca Fuchs became pregnant with her daughter in August of 2015, she and her partner, Don Lee Wagner, rented a Meiners Oaks studio apartment for $800 a month.
Fuchs and Wagner spent the next year looking for a two-bedroom home in the Ojai Valley that could house their growing family.
The search for housing led the couple to a home on a ranch just south of Cañada Larga. 
Fuchs said she was heartbroken to leave the Valley, but reminded herself she was just 15 minutes from Meiners Oaks.
That ranch home was destroyed in the Thomas Fire and Fuchs is once again left searching for an Ojai Valley rental she can afford. 
“It's getting very hard to live and work in Ojai. The artists and the healers and the farmers are all having a hard time,” she said. “My partner is a farmer and I'm a singer and massage therapist. We love it here and don't want leave.”

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