Rapidly Rising Rent Causing Homelessness In Arizona
Elected officials fail to address the elephant in the room (again).
It seems like every time I turn on local news, some other crazy escapade is unfolding at the State Capital during this legislative session. From battling non-existent issues with Transgender students playing in sports to having people arrested for exercising their first amendment right (freedom of speech). What I continue to struggle with is the lack of attention our current housing crisis has received. Here is my take on it.
I went to the Arizona legislative website, looked up current session bills and searched for the keyword “Housing” and this came up:
Then, I looked under each one to see what bills are being put forth to address the housing issues we face in Arizona. As of today during this legislative session, there are no substantive bills addressing the epidemic of rising rents and literal push of people into the streets.
Two bills that did populate from this search are:
Neither address the housing issues we are facing nor the overnight doubling of rent that continues to force thousands of Arizonans into the streets on a monthly basis.
A recent article on Arizona Central points out:
Arizona as an affordable housing problem. Consider:
Arizona has the third-most severe affordable housing shortage in the United States, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Nearly half of Phoenix area renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
Apartment construction is booming, but nearly 90% are luxury units. Workforce housing is not keeping up with demand.
Average apartment rents are skyrocketing: by 9% in Phoenix, 11% in Mesa and 9.2% in Scottsdale over the past year, well above national averages, according to The Arizona Republic.
It’s not just a Valley issue. The highest average rents statewide are in Flagstaff, where it takes an hourly wage of $23.79 to afford a two-bedroom apartment — $3 an hour more than in the Phoenix metro area.
Meanwhile, average wages are barely budging. It took a decade for Arizona’s median household income to match the one-year increase in rents.
Despite low unemployment, Maricopa County evictions rose 75% from 2017 to 2018, to nearly 44,000 notices last year. (Source)
Rest assured elected officials are doing nothing to fix this ongoing issue. The facts are clear, elected officials are not doing their jobs and we need to change that this year. As your next State Senator, this will be a top-priority. I have outlined a detailed path forward to addressing this issue in my housing policy plan.