High Rent Impacts Senior Citizens - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

High Rent Impacts Senior Citizens

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North Dakota is an area of economic success.

But while oil has brought booming development, it's also causing some people to have to abandon their homes.

One senior is eager to put a cap on housing rental prices.

"I do have two cats. I need them," says Rosemary Fleck.

Meet Rosemary Fleck and her two companions Scooter and Zoe.

"They're my family," says Fleck.

This is their home - an apartment she says she can no longer afford.

"This isn't right. They want to take our housing away from us. What I pay for rent is practically half of my social security income," says Fleck.

She's lived at this address for a little over three years.

And every year rent has gone up.

"My curtains, drapes on my windows are cloth shower curtains," says Fleck.

Rosemary is not one to keep quiet.

"I tell it like it is," says Fleck.

She's gone to state legislators to express her concerns for seniors living in the state capital.

"I said we have so much money in North Dakota. Why can't they build a low-income housing that has a reasonable rate that we are charged for our apartments for what our income is," says Fleck.

It's an issue that AARP also wants to bring more attention to.

"Looking to some of our leadership to say yes, we need to be addressing these issues and find some ways to be more attentive to the needs of our older population," says Janis Cheney, State Director, AARP.

"When one in four individuals use it as more than 90 percent of their income in North Dakota that are on social security, that's a big chunk," says Josh Askvig, Associate State Director for Advocacy, AARP.

A chunk that's prompted Rosemary, at 79 years old, to go back to work.

"I'm not going to be able to pay my rent and buy groceries and keep my cats if I don't find a way to earn extra money," says Fleck.

So off she goes...

"A little nervous," says Fleck.

Ready, as she says, to start her life again.

"Money is a necessity. But so is life. A bigger necessity. And I want to be happy. I want to feel good," says Fleck.

Rosemary says she hopes to help be a voice for all seniors who are struggling to stay in their homes.

"Yes, as you get older you have health problems and that but that doesn't mean we're through living. We're not through living. We have just begun. We have just begun," says Fleck.

Rosemary applied at Walmart today...and will find out soon if she got the job.


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