By Kristen Mosbrucker | Phoenix New Times
Anna Walker’s church has been chipping in to pay her rent in Mesa because she can’t afford it anymore.
When the 33-year-old first moved into her apartment complex about four years ago, a retrofitted motel built decades prior, she could swing the monthly cost of $500. At the time, the pad near Gilbert Road and Main Street was all she could afford.
“We were on the verge of being homeless and I was recovering from surgery so I pretty much grabbed it,” Walker said.
But now her rent for the same tiny one-bedroom apartment she shares with her 6-year-old autistic son has been jacked up to $800 a month. The only items that fit in the bedroom are a toddler-sized bed and a dresser while she sleeps in the living room. Her window has been broken for almost a year after some neighborhood kids threw a rock in it from the nearby trailer park, but the complex has yet to fix it. Leaky pipes patched with duct tape regularly flood her neighbors’ downstairs apartments.
“These apartments are not worth $800, they don’t even have real ceilings, just office tiles that crumble when they get wet,” she said. “There’s drug activity and I don’t let my son play outside.”