Rogers woman facing homelessness due to high rental costs

ROGERS, Arkansas (KNWA/FOX24) — The new month has begun and Kailey Wever, a mother of three, says she doesn’t have the money to pay the November rent for her apartment in Rogers.

“I paid $850 for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,200 square foot apartment,” she said. ” This is theft. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever come across.

She is a full-time student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in marketing and communications, with a minor in social work, through the University of Phoenix’s online program.

However, last summer she was involved in a serious car accident which left her with multiple injuries and had to undergo six different surgeries.

“I had to assemble my basin with four screws. I spent 37 weeks weightless in a wheelchair,” she said. “I broke my vertebrae, hit the passenger window and fractured my orbital bone.”

This left him with huge medical bills.

“That alone cost $567,000,” she said.

After contracting COVID-19 last summer, she said she was unable to keep her job due to health issues and had to apply for disability.

She said it was hard to see how much rent had gone up since her family moved to northwest Arkansas in the 1990s, where they rented.

“The rent for a house the same size as[my current apartment]is $400,” she said. “$1,500, $1,800 is what you see now.”

Jeff Cooperstein is a research economist at the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam Walton School of Business at the University of Arkansas. The average multifamily rental price for all units in northwest Arkansas is $860 per month, he said.

He said rental costs have risen dramatically over the past decade.

“It’s up 12% in the last year, 32% in the last five years, and 61% in the last decade,” he said.

As rent prices rise, he said median incomes aren’t keeping pace.

“Last year, the median income rose by about 12%, and that’s wage inflation. It went up 29% in the last five years and then 44% in the last 10 years,” he said.

So why are prices for completed rental properties so high?

“Your product is now competing with newer complexes that are more expensive, and that gives you the opportunity to start driving prices higher and faster than before because the alternatives are so expensive,” he said. -he declares.

He said inflation is also affecting maintenance costs, which could lead to higher rents. He said many of the people who moved to northwest Arkansas came from metropolitan areas where the cost of living was much higher.

“People have above-average incomes and if they sell their old house for a higher price, they can buy a house here,” he said. “They have more money, which also helps to drive up prices.”

Wever said she won’t be able to pay her rent until this weekend. In a situation like hers in Benton County, resources to help are limited, she said. She posts to a Facebook community group asking for help, looking for any other resources that might help her.

“I called 24 churches and I would say 18 of them said they only help in Washington County,” she said. “All the shelters are full and, because of the age of my children, they cannot accommodate all four of us. So what are you doing now?”

Her apartment is surrounded by messages of gratitude, gratitude and courage, which she says she must pass on for her children.

“Sometimes his plans are bigger than ours, and I have to keep my faith,” she said. “It’s little things everywhere because I have to remember because if I make my kids unhappy I’m going to make them even more disappointed. So all I can do is pray.

Cooperstein said public-private partnerships will be key to driving development and ensuring northwest Arkansas remains an affordable place to live, which he says is a major selling point for the region. .

He said city council meetings decide a lot of zoning laws, so people need to stay in touch with what’s going on with local government and raise their concerns with city leaders.

“How do I change the zoning to allow denser zoning?” he said. “In theory, denser zoning should lead to more units, and more units lead to price control.”

Many city council and magistrate posts are expected next week in November’s midterm elections.

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