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'We literally have no place to go': Disabled couple priced out of Chandler condo

Melinda and Peter Mills were just kicked out of their rented Chandler home of 10 years.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Melinda Mills isn't sure yet where she'll be living by the end of May. 

Her landlord has told Mills her lease won't be renewed this year, leaving her and her husband with no other affordable housing options.

In the face of skyrocketing housing prices, more and more homebuyers and renters are ending up in a similar predicament as Mills. They feel pushed out of the Phoenix market by escalating living costs.

The situation can be particularly straining on those like Mills and her husband, who both live with a disability and depend on a fixed income.

“We literally have no place to go,” said Melinda Mills, who is in the midst of trying to find a new place to live in the Valley.

Mills, 54, and her 67-year-old husband, Peter, have been living near Warner and Dobson roads for the last 10 years.

They both use wheelchairs to get around. They lease a two-bedroom condo in Chandler that costs about $1,395 per month.

But in January they were told their lease wasn’t getting renewed. They were told to move out at the end of May.

“In a housing market that is impossible right now,” said Melinda Mills.

They looked into buying a place, but can't afford it.

“Condos are going for over $300,000 when they were going for $150,000 two years ago,” Melinda said.

They said together they get less than $2,000 a month from Social Security.  

Renting in the area has also been difficult.

“You're looking at over $2,000 for an apartment,” Melinda said.

Their situation isn’t unique. 

Nicole Lorig is a realtor who has been trying to help the couple. She works for HomeSmart Lifestyles.

“Melinda and Peter are just like many other buyers…. They're getting priced out of the housing market to purchase, as well as in the rental market,” Lorig said.

According to Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service, the state’s median listing price has increased more than 43% in the last two years.

That makes options for low-income buyers slim.

“Going to Coolidge, go into 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 so they would accept more low-income applicants. The landlord incentive was raised from $500 to $2,000 for landlords who accept Section 8 housing assistance payments.

The Mills have less than two months to find a new place to live. They have set up a GoFundMe for moving expenses.

There are limited resources for housing and rental assistance for people with disabilities in Arizona. 

Those needing assistance are encouraged to apply for Section 8 housing or public housing opportunities. Applicants will reportedly face a possibly long waitlist for assistance.

See where to apply for Section 8 housing and public housing in Arizona here:

RELATED: Valley's homelessness rate jumped 36% during pandemic

RELATED: How long can Arizona's hot housing market last?

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