Shortage of affordable apartments across AZ impacts families

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Affordable apartments are in high demand across the state, and it's squeezing a lot of families out of the market.

Tiffany Chapa, of Phoenix, is having a hard time finding a reasonably priced place to live.

"I have a good income and it's still really difficult to find," Chapa said. "$700 for a two-bedroom apartment is a lot."

According to housing experts, the recent rental boom has led to a steady increase in rent prices, while income and wages in Arizona have remained stagnant.

As a result, there's now a shortage of around 140,000 affordable apartments across the state.

"It's hard for little families like mine,"single mother Crystal Robertson said. "Rents are going up higher than what we can afford."

Valerie Iverson is executive director of the Arizona Housing Alliance.

She said that the current affordable housing shortage may only get worse, thanks to a new law just passed by state lawmakers.

SB 1072 prohibits cities and towns from requiring builders and developers to set aside a specific number of apartments for low income families, who would pay a lower monthly rent.

"Yes, it's made it more difficult for communities to address affordable housing needs," Iverson said. "If you are working in the service industry, or healthcare, these are lower paying jobs. These hard working families are just looking to find a safe neighborhood to live in, near a school, like we all want for our families."

However, members of Arizona's Multi-Housing Association insist that government restrictions simply slow down development.

"I think the industry does a solid job providing high quality affordable housing as it stands now," AMA board member Reid Butler said. " It's more important to create supply to keep prices down.

Iverson said there are programs that can help struggling families.

"Almost any city in town has a housing department, so if you are struggling with rent, I would urge them to reach out to their city housing department and find out what resources are available," Iverson said.