The heart-wrenching housing and rental crunch facing residents in Nelson and other mountain towns has been brewing for decades, Globe and Mail freelance reporter Salmaan Farooqui told KCR’s Kootenay Morning show.

And what’s more, local housing authorities he spoke to for his story, which ran in The Globe December 27, said there’s no quick fix to the alarmingly low vacancy rates and ballooning rents in communities including Fernie, Revelstoke, Canmore and Farooqui’s new hometown — as of just two months ago — Rossland.

An internationally-travelled journalist who’s worked for Vice, the Canadian Press and the CBC jumped on the housing crunch story because of his own experience trying to find a place to live.

“People are really desperate,” Farooqui said. “Even looking through Facebook classifieds, I could see the intense competition for places to rent.”

“There were 30 to 40 people competing and commenting on single posts.”

The journalist told Kootenay Morning he could see the frustration people were experiencing trying to find a place in their own community.

“It was only something I saw in Toronto,” he added.

Farooqui spoke with Nelson CARES Society, West Kootenay Landlord Society, and Mayor John Dooley. His story documented the struggles faced by a life-long Nelson local and one of her daughters — both of whom slept for months on a mattress on a floor while they were housesitting and searching for a rental home of their own.

Farooqui reported that Nelson has a 0.4 per cent vacancy rate. Rising prices mean half of renter households pay 30 per cent or more of their income toward their lease.

Mayor John Dooley will speak to the housing crunch issue on Jan. 08 on Kootenay Morning between 8 and 9.

Listen to the full interview with Farooqui here: