SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s no secret people are pouring into Nashville, and with more people comes more demand for housing, meaning rent quickly has been going up. While this is not an uncommon issue, it has caused people to pack up and move outside of Davidson County.

However, what happens when more rural counties also become too expensive?

“It feels like a nuclear bomb. It affects everybody; it’s totally rocking our ability to stay in our community, and until you experience it, you can’t imagine it,” described Tristan Call with the Bedford County Listening Project.

Call started the Bedford County Listening Project after he found similar stories throughout the county.

“I was set paying a particular amount of rent, and then management changed and the rent went up because we had to sign a new lease,” said Sophia Tillett, a Shelbyville renter. “I have lived in small towns most of my life, and it’s so baffling to me that in small towns like this, we’re paying the rent of cities. It just, it baffles me.”

Tillett’s story is not unique.

“I only work a part time job, and I mean it’s just not right,” said another renter. “I feel like these slumlords should be made to fix their properties if they are going to rent it out to people who are on limited income.”

This month, the Bedford County Listening Project published a report named “Defending Our Homes: Addressing the Housing Human Rights Crisis in Rural Middle Tennessee.”

The report details how after the group knocked on more than 1,000 doors, they found 84% of renters saying they had “difficulty finding safe and affordable housing.”

“It’s extremely frustrating mostly because we continue to get new leases and the rules change, and the rules change, and the rules change, and then at the same time we’re trying to get repairs done in our units, but because our management company keeps changing, repairs aren’t getting done,” Tillett said.

Expensive rent has become a major problem according to Tillett. In the study, they claim nearly 50% of renters said they spend half of their income on housing alone.

“About 20 years ago, I think it would have been a big surprise to folks here to see people coming from Los Angeles, buying up complexes in our little town. At this point, it’s every day,” Call explained.