The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors approved $17 million in funding for affordable housing projects, the county announced Monday, $6 million of which will go toward a new Glendale project.
Overall, the funding will add more than 600 new units to the region’s affordable housing stock. A hotel conversion will add 50 housing units, and new construction will add 368 units in the West Valley and 192 units in central Phoenix.
The Gorman Group, a Phoenix-based financial consulting firm, has been awarded $6 million to construct 368 new affordable rental units at the southeast corner of 67th and Glendale avenues in Glendale, the county announced. The project, named Centerline on Glendale, will take place in two phases.
Phase one will build 186 units and phase two will bring an additional 182 units online.
“Remember what they say about how to eat an elephant: you do it one bite at a time. That’s the mindset we need to have as we look at affordable housing in our region,” Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Clint Hickman, District 4, shared in a Monday statement. “It’s going to take awhile to get our inventory where it needs to be, but the addition of nearly 400 new rentals in the heart of Glendale is an example of how we can address our affordable housing shortage one investment and one partnership at a time.”
The Wall Street Journal reported March 29 that Phoenix had the fastest home-price growth in the country for a 32nd straight month, at 32.6%, continuing its record streak in the top spot.
Meanwhile, the Maricopa Association of Governments released its 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) Unsheltered Street Count, an annual street and shelter count to determine the number of people experiencing homelessness in Maricopa County during a given point in time. Glendale, which showed the highest homeless population count in the West Valley in the previous study, had the highest jump in the homeless community in 2022 among large Valley cities with a statistical increase of 139%.
Jean Moreno, Glendale’s executive officer for strategic initiatives and special projects, this month said stagnant wages, along with a housing and rental market that is quite literally pricing out people, including those gainfully employed, is adding to the unsheltered community with a lack of affordable housing.
“People are just getting priced out of their unit because of these increases in rent,” Moreno told the Glendale Independent. “That’s when we see people who end up living in their cars and things like that.”
Another Valley-wide impact analysis, through Elliott D. Pollack & Co. and entitled “Current State of the Greater Phoenix Housing Market,” charted data broken down by city to measure affordability based on housing that comprises 30% of an annual salary. The findings released earlier this year showed of essential professions only a resident employed as a nurse could afford to buy a home in Glendale. Only a police officer would be able to afford renting a two-bedroom unit; a firefighter, teacher, chef and construction worker could afford to rent only a one-bedroom; and a waitperson and retail worker could afford none of the options.
“From our perspective the rising cost of housing and the wages that just haven’t kept pace with the price of housing in our region I think are the biggest issues that are driving the increases that we’re seeing in homelessness,” Moreno noted. “What we’re seeing in our region right now is less of the chronically homeless and more of first-time homeless people.”
Money from the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced Monday also will support $3 million for a new 192-unit affordable rental complex, named Salt River Flats, to be built near Broadway and 14th Street in Phoenix. Also, to expand the stock of affordable housing to serve unique needs of people transitioning from homelessness to housing, $8 million will be used by Arizona Housing, Inc. to convert an existing hotel on Van Buren Street in central Phoenix to permanent, supportive housing.
“We are so appreciative of the support that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has provided for solutions to address affordable housing along a continuum of options for county residents,” Jacqueline Edwards, Director of Maricopa County Human Services, stated Monday. “From preventing evictions through rental assistance to funding landlord engagement programs that support the transition to housing from homelessness to these construction projects that add more than 600 new affordable units to the housing stock in the Valley — the county is committed to finding innovative housing solutions.”
Visit Maricopa.gov/Rescue for more information on available assistance and making a positive impact for people in Maricopa County.