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Rising rent pushes some out of senior community

ATWATER — Roena Carter has already suffered through one broken back, so she refuses to shoulder the latest rent increase at her senior community.

After receiving notice that her rent would be going up from $860 to $930, the 63-year-old nurse began stacking her frames against the wall and wrapping keepsakes in newspaper.

“I call it senior exploitation,” she said with a drawl that lingers from her North Carolina home.Carter, along with some of her fellow senior neighbors, feel pinched by the rent increases handed down last month by Castle Vista, a retirement community off Juniper Avenue run by Ray Stone Inc., a Sacramento-based real estate investment company.

In the letter, management attributes the March 1 hike to higher operating expenses, property insurance, worker compensation and utilities.

Last year, the Atwater officials approved sewer rate increases, bringing the average bill from $22 to $33 Jan. 1. By July 1, it will be up to $49. Those bills, along with water and garbage are covered by Castle Vista, she acknowledged.

David Crump, vice president of Ray Stone, said that the rent increases in the last three years have been below the cost of living increases in Social Security when averaged.

He wasn’t surprised to hear there was some grumbling among residents. “That’s typical of seniors,” he noted. “It’s always hard for them to swallow.”