“Over the next decade, the number of elderly homeless Americans is projected to triple — and that was before Covid-19 hit. In Phoenix, the crisis has already arrived.”
“Credit … Eduardo L. Rivera for The New York Times”
“Miles Oliver’s troubles began in April, when he had to choose between making his monthly car payment and paying his rent. He chose the car, based on a logical calculation: Without a car, he couldn’t drive to work, meaning no money for rent regardless. Oliver came to Arizona from Chicago more than 30 years ago as an Army recruit at Fort Huachuca, the storied military post wedged into shrublands in the southeastern part of the state, just a 15-mile hike from the Mexico border. He grew to love Arizona — the dry air, the seemingly endless sunshine, the sense of possibility for someone looking for a new start. He moved to Phoenix and built a life for himself there. Now it was all falling apart.
“His car, a navy blue 2007 Ford Fusion for which he paid $230 a month, was his lifeline. It took him to whatever day jobs he cobbled together each week, most of them in construction, and allowed him to bring in extra cash on weekends delivering pizza for Papa John’s. February was slow, and March was slower, so when his $830 April rent came due, Oliver was short. The apartment complex’s office had closed because of the pandemic, and he had no idea how to reach the manager to ask for extra time. What he received, by mail, was an ultimatum: Pay up or go to court.”
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