Last week, I finally received word that my rental application had been accepted for an apartment. The good news came after a month of rejection from other landlords and management companies that refused to rent to me for one specific reason: I was too young.

Let me be clear: I am a graduating college student. I have lived in Portland for almost three years after moving off campus in the hope of finding more work opportunities and housing that would allow me to start creating the life I wanted for myself. It has also saved money, as the average college room and board rates exceed the annual rent costs in Portland.

Renting alone, of course, is not an option for college students struggling to pay bills, which means that having one or two roommates is a must. However, if you put the names of more than one college student on a rental application, the only thing a landlord seems to see is “Party House Wanted,” and that is where rejection comes into play.

For the majority of buildings in Portland, before even applying to rent an apartment, you need to complete a credit and background check per person (and per co-signer, if you are unlucky enough to already have college debt and bad credit).

That expense is your own responsibility. Right off the bat, it costs $80 for two people with two co-signers just to apply for the apartment – and it is nonrefundable if your application is not accepted. Multiply that by three rejected applications, and you find yourself paying $240 for nothing in return.

Upon acceptance, most places require first and last month’s rent and a security deposit equal to one month’s rent. With the average price of a two-bedroom apartment with heat and hot water included, you are looking at paying up to $4,000 just to sign a lease. Add moving costs and transportation fees, and the price just keeps rising.

It is no secret that there is an extreme housing crisis in Portland. With the population increasing and housing becoming scarce, rents are skyrocketing. In 2013, the average price of a two-bedroom apartment was between $900 and $1,000 a month.

With an increase each year, the average monthly rent in 2016 can be anywhere from $1,200 to $1,400. Not only is this unaffordable for the majority of Portland renters, especially those who receive Section 8 services and General Assistance, but it is also completely unaffordable for the average college student who doesn’t receive any kind of support.

As new young adults, we are taught that we are responsible for every decision we make. We enroll in college in the hope of pursuing a well-paying career and a future. We take out student loans in order to pay for that future. With the average tuition rates also increasing, we take out more loans and accumulate more debt, simply hoping that one day we will have jobs that allow us to pay back that debt.

Those of us who are fortunate enough to have familial support (with good credit) are able to rent rundown apartments from landlords whose only concern is getting the rent on the first of the month. For those of us who are supporting ourselves on our own, forget it. Without good credit, or without a co-signer, we cannot rent at all.

Here’s the thing: This issue has multiple layers. Colleges in the Portland area are doing more and more to attract new students and increase the student population. With colleges in this area having primarily commuting students (partly because of crowded on-campus housing), students need a place to live if they are going to be attending the school.

With no advances being made in providing student housing, and increasing rents in the community, not to mention the increase of stricter renting policies, it is almost impossible for a college student to rent an apartment in Portland.

A message to Portland landlords and management companies: Please don’t forget about college students. We are just trying to find our places in the world, and we are trying to do that by going to school.

Not all of us have the level of support that is often assumed, but that does not mean we are not fully functional members of society. The current housing crisis is affecting the majority of Portland residents and will continue to spiral if these issues are ignored.