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Skyrocketing rent leaves Valley woman homeless

64-year-old Mary Eggleston lost the roof over her head last year after her landlord raised her rent. She is on a fixed income and is battling heart disease.

PHOENIX — When you first meet 64-year-old Mary Eggleston, you can't help but notice her quiet demeanor and frail body. She uses a walker to get around and is battling heart disease and severe arthritis. 

Despite her small frame, Mary's inner strength is one of pride and determination. 

She is on a fixed income, living on a combination of social security and retirement which brings in $1,038 a month for housing, medical expenses, and food. 

Enough she says to barely get by. 

"I don’t know how I ended up homeless," said Mary, emotional as she reflected on the shock to her system last year. She says her landlord raised her rent and she was unable to make payments. 

"I always paid my bills," said Mary. "But then when I ended up homeless, there are things out there I couldn’t afford. I kept applying and if you don’t make three times the rent, they deny you.”  

According to a new report from Apartment List, the average price of rent in Arizona jumped 18% in 2021 compared to a 2% increase in 2020. 

“You do have a roof over your head; that’s like basic,” said Mary. 

She stayed on her friend's couch for a couple of months but then moved out and started renting rooms in motels as long as she could afford it. 

"I was paying a hundred dollars a night to stay in a hotel when I could afford it and when I ran out of my Social Security money, I didn’t have anywhere to stay,” said Mary. 

She would buy a day pass for the light rail just to close her eyes for a moment of peace but then caught COVID-19 which led her to Circle the City's Parson Center.  

She recovered and worked with a healthcare worker at the clinic who connected her with Arizona Housing Inc

Arizona Housing, Inc. was founded in 1995 and helps people in financial need find quality affordable housing. The organization owns and operates more than 600 affordable apartments in Phoenix. 

“I couldn’t believe that feeling. That I have a home to go to,” said Mary. 

Circle the City  

Circle the City offers a recuperative medical respite care model where individuals experiencing homelessness can recuperate and receive daily medical care and round-the-clock (24/7) nursing support.

"Circle the City offers four mobile medical units to deliver outreach medical services to some of the most vulnerable in our communities," according to the organization's website. 

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