Melinda and Peter Mills have just been evicted from their rented house in Chandler for 10 years.
CHANDLER, Ariz. — Melinda Mills doesn’t yet know where she will be living until the end of May.
Her landlord told the woman in the wheelchair that her lease would not be renewed this year, leaving Mills and her husband with no other affordable housing option.
Faced with soaring real estate prices, more and more buyers and renters find themselves in a situation similar to that of Mills. They feel pushed out of the Phoenix market by the escalating cost of living.
The situation can be particularly trying for those like Mills and her husband, who both live with disabilities and depend on a fixed income.
“We literally have no place to go,” said Melinda Mills, who is trying to find a new place to live in the valley.
Mills, 54, and her 67-year-old husband, Peter, have lived near Warner and Dobson roads for 10 years.
They both use wheelchairs to get around. They rent a two-bedroom condo in Chandler that costs around $1,395 per month.
But in January, they were told their lease was not being renewed. They were told to move at the end of May.
“In a housing market that’s impossible right now,” Melinda Mills said.
They have considered buying a home, but cannot afford it.
“The condos are over $300,000 where they were $150,000 two years ago,” Melinda said.
They said that together they received less than $2,000 a month from Social Security.
Renting in the area was also difficult.
“You’re looking over $2,000 for an apartment,” Melinda said.
Their situation is not unique.
Nicole Lorig is a real estate agent trying to help the couple. She works for HomeSmart Lifestyles.
“Melinda and Peter are like many other buyers…. They are out of the housing market to buy, as well as the rental market,” Lorig said.
According to the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, the state’s median listing price has increased more than 43% over the past two years.
This narrows options for low-income buyers.
“Go to Coolidge, go to Florence, Maricopa where the houses are cheaper,” Lorig suggested.
The city of Phoenix is trying to help.
In February, the city council approved incentives for landlords to accept more low-income applicants. The landlord incentive has been increased from $500 to $2,000 for landlords who accept Section 8 housing assistance payments.
The Mills have less than two months to find new accommodation. They set up a GoFundMe for moving expenses.
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