Rents are increasing all around the country, but most exorbitantly in Arizona, with three AZ cities in the top 20 for highest increases in rent in the country over the last year. This is nothing new for us here at APG, we’ve been sounding the alarm for a while now. But as time goes on, we wonder what catalysts will be necessary for people in power to wake up, do the right thing, and make more housing available.
Perhaps one of the most devastating impacts of this phenomenon is in our lower-income communities. This story covers that in disturbing detail; rents in several south Phoenix zip codes have gone up 50% or more over the last 5 years. The average household is now spending 2/3rds of their income on housing and transportation alone. Disadvantaged communities are only going forward down the rabbit hole of poverty, patently unable to put any money away for a rainy day, let alone for retirement or the down payment of a home.
Where is progressive leadership? Where are the leaders demanding more housing? Sure, some left fringe elements will likely call for rent controls, but those are entirely unrealistic in Arizona. The answer is obvious, and yet Democratic leaders seem to be too concerned about the words of out-of-neighborhood NIMBYs than their own constituents, who are being crushed by this onerous issue.
The Democratic Party touts itself as the party of the people, the one that will go above and beyond to lift up the impoverished. And while opposition to development isn’t necessarily an R vs D topic in a traditional sense, Democrats do seem to be just as beholden to the public comments of NIMBYs from across town as do some Republicans.
Here is the chance for Democrats to actually help out their constituency, to actually help improve lots in life. These are communities that can’t afford 50% rent increases, that are being held hostage by these poor policies. Are they going to have to live through another lost generation of lost wealth and lack of advancement because their leaders refuse to allow for more housing options? That would be an inexcusable shame.