Tempe City Council is providing a $1.2 million transfer from the municipal general fund meant to provide a shot in the arm into expansion plans for creating more affordable housing within city limits.
Hometown for All --- the initiative that received the investment --- aims to create more affordable and workforce housing opportunities through developing, acquiring, and rehabilitating city properties.
As reported by Independent Newsmedia, the initiative is also an opportunity for the city to regain control over the housing market and focus on serving the needs of the workforce population.
“I couldn’t be more excited about the progress we have seen with Hometown for All,” Mayor Corey Woods said in a prepared statement. “This is the first of many examples that prove what can be accomplished with a dedicated funding stream and a strong vision from the council.”
The budget transfer will fund the preparation of five city-owned lots along Apache Boulevard that will be turned into as many as 325 rental units and 50 homeownership opportunities, officials contend.
“This investment is a really critical step toward taking these vacant lots and turning them into hundreds of affordable rentals and homes for people who want to live here,” Mayor Woods points out.
Partnering with developers, Artspace and Gorman & Company, the former will create roughly 200 units across two lots, and the latter is set to build as many as 100 affordable units on two lots as well.
The city is still looking to partner with a developer for the fifth lot located near the Price Freeway.
This lot “could include a mix of 150 affordable and workforce units along with 50 townhomes that provide affordable homeownership opportunities,” as explained in a press release.
Potential partners have yet to be identified and the concept is not yet finalized for the fifth lot.
Preliminary work that will be completed across the lots with this funding would include “environmental, archeological, historic preservation and utility work,” beginning the process of getting them ready for development.
This work is in accordance with the recently approved Native American land acknowledgment statement that commemorates and recognizes the historical and cultural significance of local tribes and land-use decisions made by the city.
Additionally, for each development project built, 50% of the building permit fees paid to the city are allocated to the Tempe Coalition for Affordable Housing, which has raised roughly $1.5 million to support affordable housing to date.
Recently, the city council has been dedicated to addressing the issue of homelessness because of their strategic priority to enhance the quality of life for Tempe residents and workers through different city initiatives.
Hometown for All also serves as part of Tempe’s Park Safety Program that plans to improve city parks for residents through a multi-pronged approach, including increased park maintenance and a focus on better serving and assisting the homeless community.
The recently approved Park Safety Program being considered for the 2021 city budget will aim to connect individuals experiencing homelessness at city parks to city shelter spaces, as reported by Independent Newsmedia.
Shelters will work with those experiencing homelessness to find more permanent housing, bringing Tempe’s homeless population to a “functional zero,” which rarifies the experience.