My name is Maria Rojas and I am a member of 9to5 Colorado. My family, my husband, my three daughters, and I, have lived in my apartment for 7 years. Coming to this apartment in 2014, my husband was paying $800 and now we’re paying $1,245–and this doesn’t include the cost of garbage and water. Now we pay most of our income to rent and also at the start of this month, March, we got the news that our rent was going to go up by $135. Additionally, every time we renew our contract each year our rent goes up. Since living here, it has never stopped climbing. With the increase every year, we do not see any changes in the apartments. They could paint the walls or change the counter that comes with the apartment, but they don’t change or fix anything. Or, for example, maintenance could improve as well. Our air conditioner didn’t work for two years and we told them several times until it was finally fixed last year. Right now too, we found mold in the bathroom and they told us that it is normal because of the water and no one has come to fix it.
Since the pandemic started, my husband has been given fewer hours at work and he doesn’t work every day. When he got sick with COVID or last month with a bad flu, all of that affected us. His job in construction also means that when it snows, he can’t work and it may be that during those months we don’t have enough rent. All this and additionally having a rent increase causes a lot of pressure on my family. We often live paycheck to paycheck–and it affects our children, too. There are times that on the weekend it is not enough to buy a pizza or rent a movie and it affects me and my husband emotionally. Rent increases must be limited or stopped to allow families to recover from the pandemic that still affects us all.