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Evictions increase in Phoenix, advocates push Legislature for solutions
"There's this attitude that people who end up in those situations made bad choices,"
By: Arizona Mirror Media Network
Dominique Medina began worrying about the untenable housing situation in Phoenix around a year ago when his sister was evicted. Then, amid skyrocketing inflation and rent increases across Phoenix, in August he was given a 30-day notice to vacate the place he'd called home for five years.
"There's this attitude that people who end up in those situations made bad choices," Medina told the Arizona Mirror. "It's like, no, sometimes you do everything right. You're working a full-time job and you still can't manage to make ends meet."
Medina and his sister, whose family has been in Arizona for eight generations, are among thousands in the Valley who were evicted over the past year amid spiking rents and stagnant wages.
Rent in the Phoenix metro area increased 80% from 2016 to 2021. Incomes increased just 22% during the same period.
Eviction filings in Maricopa County dropped during a COVID-19 moratorium from March 2020 to August 2021, but they've now been increasing steadily for the past few months.
In September, 6,685 eviction cases were filed in Maricopa County Justice Courts. That's up from 6,574 the previous month and makes for the third month in a row that eviction filings in the county surpassed the numbers seen during the height of the 2008 housing crisis.
However, the county's population has increased by more than 650,000 since 2008, so the rate of evictions per 100,000 people right now is still significantly lower than the rate in 2008, at around 140 evictions per 100,000, compared to around 180 in 2008. Not everyone who has an eviction filed against them in court ends up actually being evicted, but the numbers from the past few months portray a simple truth: Many people in the Valley are struggling to afford housing here and more of them are losing their homes.
The average amount awarded to a landlord who wins an eviction case in Maricopa County has gone from $1,977 in 2019 to $3,337 this year, demonstrating just how much rents have increased in the past three years.
The Arizona Mirror is an independent,
nonprofit news organization