Seniors in Missouri Valley face steep rent increase

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MISSOURI VALLEY, Iowa (KMTV) – Millie Broughton packs her bags.

The senior from Missouri Valley, Iowa, has lived there in a townhouse since it opened in 2015. But now she’s finishing her move.

Broughton’s rent was $ 850. But a jump to $ 1,200 was not something she was willing to stay for. She says she was originally told her new rent cost would be $ 1,500.

She estimates that she is the fourth to leave the group of 10 townhouses. She was able to find a place in social housing in the city.

The rent increase notice came after the arrival of new management in the spring: Azria Health Longview. Azria Health has long-term care facilities in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.

The rate for new tenants will be $ 1,500, an Azria Health representative said. But current residents are offered grandfathered rights at $ 1,200 per month.

Azria Health Longview told 3 News Now Investigators that they are adding new amenities, including new dining options, events, and transportation to an aquatic center.

The two-bed, two-bath units also include all paid utilities, said regional operations manager Lindsey Pihlgren.

“Other lower-cost rental living options for seniors in the Missouri Valley do not compare in any way to the townhouses on the Azria Health Longview campus,” the director said in an email.

The fact that the townhouses were built as part of an Iowa community development block grant disaster recovery project also appears to play an important role.

The townhouses were built with a $ 1.6 million grant that aims to support housing in areas affected by flooding.

The grant also included a temporary “affordability period” to open the units, Iowa Economic Development Authority spokesperson Kanan Kappelman said. Pihlgren said that period expired last year, five years after they opened.

Kappelman said it’s not always the case that rents go up after the period ends.

“Other communities, with limited rental inventory, are seeing increases, as these units are often the newest / prettiest units on the market,” Kappelman wrote.

“The goal of post-disaster new construction housing projects is to provide clean, quality and affordable housing … Investing in clean, quality housing helps alleviate the severe housing shortage in the country. Iowa, even after the affordability period is over. “

Evelyn and Gerald Marshall face a similar increase.

“We started looking for a house very quickly,” she said. A mortgage would be stable, unlike the rent, she said.

But they’re unwilling to look outside of the Missouri Valley, as World War II veteran Gerald lived his 98 years in the city. That, along with a loan limit and accessibility requirements, makes it more difficult, Evelyn said.

She says renters are being asked to pay a price that isn’t right for a small town like Missouri Valley.

“It will be a matter of rent or food,” said Evelyn. “And we have a lot of medicine.”

Statement from Azria Health Longview, Regional Director of Operations Lindsey Pihlgren:

“The Freestanding Townhouses on the Azria Health Longview Campus were newly built in 2015 and offer some of the finest and best designed independent living units in the Missouri Valley and beyond. We are very proud of these townhouses and consider them a wonderful option for those in our great community.

The rental prices of the townhouses were kept at fixed and low market rates for the first 5 years of its existence under the funding agreement that came from a grant from the community development block of the Iowa following the Missouri River floods in 2008. However, in order to continue to provide the best experience and care for our residents on campus, we recently adjusted the townhouse market, while adding new amenities, including, but not limited to, new dining options, activities, classes and events, as well as transportation to the new aquatic center. We work with our residents during this adjustment period and help those who need possible income adjustments to keep the rent at a level they can afford.

Ensuring our residents receive the best quality care is Azria Health Longview’s top priority. “

Statement from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, Kanan Kappelman:

“Rent increases or changes after the affordability term varies widely across the state depending on many market factors. We’ve seen communities where the 65% HOME rates are at or above the market, from so rates don’t change much after affordability Other communities, with limited rental inventory, are seeing increases as these units are often the newest / prettiest units on the market.

The goal of post-disaster new construction housing projects is to provide clean, quality and affordable housing. While the Affordability Period ensures that, for a specific length of time, investing in clean, quality housing helps alleviate Iowa’s significant housing shortage overall, even after the period of affordability over. “

Statement from AARP Iowa, State Director Brad Anderson:

“Housing affordability is a key component for people to successfully age and stay in their communities. Housing is the biggest item in the household budget for most Americans, whether they own or rent. + Iowans shouldn’t have to choose between paying for their house and paying for everyday things like food, transportation, and health care. An expiring Iowa grant and new management is no excuse for that the older Missouri Valley Iowans are at risk of losing their safe and affordable place to live. “

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