Significant rent increase forces older couple to scramble for housing

ROB ROGERS

“You’ve had an ax thrown at your head and you just have to pull it out and keep fighting,” the husband said. 

The couple, who are in their early 70s, were reluctant to talk about their story; they feel a keen sense of shame that after a successful career and holding prominent positions in the community, they’re now unable to pay their rent and will require assistance if they’re to keep a roof over their heads. 

They don’t want their friends at church and in the community to know the situation they’re in and so they’ve asked that their names not be used.

Sitting in their sunlit, ground floor apartment one Friday morning in early August, the couple pulled out their financial statements showing how much they receive every month in Social Security benefits and the breakdown of their new rent. 

The couple has lived in their apartment for six years; the back patio opens to an expansive lawn framed by a mature blue spruce and a ponderosa pine, which attracts all kinds of wildlife from the occasional deer to small birds and squirrels to a large, curious owl. 

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