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New affordable housing solution to be built in the Valley

Posted at 6:55 AM, Mar 02, 2023

PHOENIX — A small plot of land on 59th Avenue, just north of Bethany Home Road, has sat vacant for as long as anyone can remember. It's less than half an acre and not a property a big developer would have their eyes on.

It's all dirt and weeds now, but Ted Taylor says this is one of those "diamond in the rough" scenarios.

Taylor is one of the leaders of Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, an organization that helps families who are homeless.

"The number-one problem in homelessness across the nation, and also in the Phoenix metro area, is the lack of affordable housing," said Taylor.

It's a story Taylor has heard time and time again: families living in the Valley can't find an affordable place to live.

"Literally out of desperation, we came to this church and said, 'you have a piece of land. Would you be willing to let us, if we could figure out a way to build affordable housing on that land, would you allow us to do that?' And they said they love it," said Taylor.

Taylor showed us the blueprints for what will soon be a micro-village. Six fully furnished two-bedroom units are set to be built out of shipping containers. They'll have solar power so families won’t have to pay for energy.

There will also be an office and laundry facility, and wrap-around services for the families so they'll have the support they need to get a strong footing in life.

But what makes this project unique is the actual land it’s on. The small lot is owned by the church and is being leased to Family Promise for housing. Taylor says this is a different concept but believes there are so many micro-parcels of land on church property, and this could be the beginning of a big development.

"There are congregations of all faiths who have land, designated multi-family housing by zoning, and it's too small for anybody to want to use," said Taylor. "So, what an interesting place for Family Promise to step in. Could we create micro-villages on these small pieces of land."

And the time to get it done is fast compared to traditional construction. This micro-village should be completed by summer 2023. Taylor says there are other Valley cities already interested in building micro villages.

Taylor points out that Family Promise is a national organization that works with 7,000 congregations across the country, so the goal is to deploy the micro-villages all over the United States.