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Is the state doing enough to create more affordable housing?

Posted: 5:00 AM, Feb 21, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-21 10:43:04-05
House money

PHOENIX — Is the State of Arizona doing enough to create affordable housing?

Jeri writes, "we are fixed income and 'make too much.' We can't afford to move and can't afford to fix our home."

Jamie adds, "I make the most I've ever made and still have two roomates in a two bedroom apartment."

Terri comments, "Renting a 1 bed room - every 12 months the rent goes up... income does not."

Tough stories are being shared on the Let Joe Know Facebook Page. They're buyers and renters who can't find affordable housing and too often can't get into programs that could help.

"People are always at risk that the program that they were counting on, or one of them, is gone," said Patricia Duarte, CEO & President of the non-profit Trellis.

Patricia says home-buyer help programs come and go. Some lose funding and others offer just pieces of what buyers really need for down payments.

We caught up with Duarte at the state legislature, working on getting more housing support from the state - or at least what we had in the past.

Joan Serviss, CEO of the AZ Housing Coalition, says in 2009, the State Housing Trust Fund had more than $40 million in it. The money used to fund new affordable home projects, homelessness prevention efforts, shelters and help should a disaster hit.

"Around the time of the recession, the Housing Trust Fund was swept," said Serviss. All the money was used for other purposes. While a recent $15-million infusion helps, Joan says it's already promised to agencies. She and other groups want the money restored and they are pushing legislators to support a Low Income Housing Tax Credit, giving builders an incentive to make more low-income housing options.

"Any investor who has a tax liability in Arizona, they can receive the tax credit and that goes toward building down equity," said Serviss. "It basically creates more affordable housing units."

There is already a Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit. Last year the state used that money for 13 rental projects providing 921 units in six Arizona counties.

LET YOUR LEGISLATOR KNOW HOW YOU FEEL.

If you're having the same kind of trouble, there are ways to get help.

The Arizona Housing Coalition is a good place to start whether you are wanting to rent or buy.

They have a dozens of places that work in matching people with housing.

If you want to buy a home, Trellis is a non-profit that helps people get into homes through financial education and various programs that can help.

The Arizona Public Housing Authority can offer assistance with renting through Section 8 programs.

The City of Phoenix offers emergency help.

If you're looking for rental help, click here to access various programs.

If you're being evicted or need help fighting a landlord issue, Community Legal Services may be able to assist you.