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Phoenix area seniors on fixed income feeling effects of rising living costs

Among the people affected is 69-year-old Cathy Johnson, who has seen a nearly $500 rent increase for her lease renewal.
Published: May. 25, 2022 at 3:30 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Valley senior citizens who are on fixed incomes are feeling the squeeze of the rising living costs. Elderly homelessness is also increasing. Among the people affected is 69-year-old Cathy Johnson, who has seen a nearly $500 rent increase for her lease renewal. Her total sits at almost $1600. While her social security is a little more than $1900, her disability ran out last year after a back injury forced her to retire.

“It was shocking, I guess that’s the best word,” said Johnson. “It’s a different position for me to be in, and I understand both sides of it, but it’s scary because rent keeps going up, and I can’t find a place.”

Riann Balch is the Community Resources Manager for the City of Chandler. Like the rest of the Valley, she said they’re seeing an alarming increase in senior citizen homelessness. “Very scary trend to the point where we are actually having landlords contact us and say things like ‘I know of 5 seniors in my complex who are not going to be able to resign their lease because they just can’t afford it’ what can you do?’” explained Balch.

Johnson said she always thought she’d travel after retiring and now finds herself using her savings account to make ends meet while she tries to find a new affordable place to live. “I’ll just play it right now, probably month by month,” said Johnson. Luckily, Johnson has family in town that should keep her under a roof. Balch said that senior citizens could contact their cities for resources to find affordable housing.