Why a family moved from Indiana to Arizona and back

Over the past five years, Devonte and Cassie Bradford have moved their family from Indiana to Arizona and then back to Indiana. Now the couple is saving up for what will hopefully be a final cross-country move.

“I grew up in a small town called Oaktown, Indiana,” Cassie said. “It’s really small. If you blink, you could miss it.” She and Devonte met when they were still in high school. “Ever since we were kids, she’s been my ride or die,” he said.

2018, The couple moved their two children to Phoenix, Arizona, where Devonte’s mother lived. “She said, ‘I think you guys are going to do such a great job out here,’ and we just decided, you know what, we might as well try,” Cassie said.

Although the Bradfords enjoyed the job opportunities available to them in Arizona and the activities they could engage in with their young children, they struggled to find affordable housing. “Everything’s a lot more expensive out there,” Devonte said.

Maricopa County, where they lived, has 125 times the population of Indiana County, from which they moved — 4.5 million compared to fewer than 36,000. “It was difficult getting insurance and finding a doctor,” Cassie said. “The waiting list went on for months and months.”

Pregnant with their third child, the Bradfords decided to move back to Indiana. “It was just easier, really,” Cassie said.

Now the family of five lives in a three-bedroom apartment in Vincennes, Indiana, where their rent is $635 a month. “The rent is low and everything is affordable, but you also have to look at where you live,” Devonte said. “The jobs here pay so badly,” Cassie said.

In Indiana, Devonte works as a foreman for a tree felling service and Cassie works as an assistant teacher for a Head Start program. The couple said they faced discrimination as a multiracial family in a community far less diverse than where they lived in Arizona.

“You have to ask yourself, ‘Am I going to raise my family here? Do I want to live here?’” Devonte said. “Well, I think we’ll go west and try again.”

This summer, after their children finish school for the year, the Bradfords hope to return to Arizona. You researched schools and housing costs in a community called Goodyear.

“[We’re] We’re just trying to find what suits us,” Devonte said, “where the apartment isn’t so bad and you can find a good home … and find a decent job and have a good, honest life.” We hope this is our final step,” he said.

Click the audio player above to hear the Bradfords Story. Tell us your housing story using the form below and you may be featured in a future issue of Adventures in Housing.

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