This will probably be overlooked.

Generation Y and Z are characteristically charitable and eager to join a cause. These generations have been found to be exceptionally interested in charitable causes and social or political movements. An example of this theory is seen with the WeSay: Voices of LOU project that students in the Journalism department at the University of Mississippi are executing. Another example are the housing surveys of the Oxford and Lafayette area that classes in the sociology and anthropology departments are conducting.

JT Mullins, a student from the Honors 420: Housing Inequality class, has gained new insights into the town he now calls home. In preparation for conducting the surveys for the duration of the semester, his class has learned more in-depth about the housing crisis in Oxford. Mullins recalled that the median income is $44,000, while the average home costs over $250,000. This high gap is what equates to the increasingly detrimental housing crisis across the county.

“Oxford is typically thought of as mostly affluent, but now I realize that we have a greatly varied community comprised of people with many different levels of income and problems that are not being addressed by city and county officials,” Mullins spoke of his new view on Oxford.

Coming from the coast, Mullins has now had the unique experience of learning about Oxford in a new light. He is seeing a side of Oxford that is not advertised with the slogan “a great place to live,” rather it is a side that has to question if they even can live there.

Through the door-to-door surveys the groups in the class will be conducting, they hope to gather a better representation of the housing insecurity in Lafayette County. They will compile the information at the end of the semester in order to present an accurate and up-to-date report of the living cost and quality, as well as the overall breakdown of the demographics in the area to a board of community leaders.

Currently, the only information the county has on the residents is an outdated census that does not go into great detail. The new surveys will allow a more in-depth view of the residents in Lafayette county and provide an analysis on how it actually is living in Oxford. The surveys will cover the level of poverty, quality of living conditions, and the intensity of economic insecurity of the families. Then, they will be able to find the identifying factors that contribute to each category. Mullins reported of his hopes that their work will lead to possible policy changes at the county level concerning housing.

With the negativity surrounding the concept of Oxford having a problem, many simply choose to ignore what they consider the “problem.” By those being affected coming together with people who care, they regain a voice. In doing so, it gains attention and forces those ignoring it to see it and answer; and, makes those who were in the dark about it, aware. Small things, such as this article, might be overlooked, but by presenting a constant voice and going out into the community affected and listening to them, the subject matter is brought to light.

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