Arizona will spend $60 million on new housing assistance programs
The state legislature committed an unprecedented $60 million to the Arizona Housing Trust Fund as part of this year's $15.8 billion budget, which passed Thursday.
- The money will be used to develop affordable housing and support other housing and homelessness programs.
- $20 million will go toward rural projects and $4 million total will be distributed to the Navajo and Hopi tribal nations.
Why it matters: Arizona has just 26 affordable and available rental homes per 100 extremely low-income renter households, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Flashback: The Housing Trust Fund was established in 1989 and financed with revenue received from the sale of unclaimed property — topping out at $40 million in 2007.
- During the Great Recession, the legislature put that money toward other programs and later capped the annual revenue at $2.5 million.
- The state has since made additional deposits, but they've never come close to the pre-recession level until now.
What they're saying: "The most we got was $15 million a year or two ago so, $60 million? Heck, yeah. Let's go," Joan Serviss, executive director of the Arizona Housing Coalition, tells Axios.
The state had about a $5 billion surplus because tax revenue outpaced expectations, which allowed for more spending on social services than the legislature typically entertains.
Yes, but: The housing trust fund allocation was still short of the $100 million initial request from supporters.
What we're watching: Central Arizona Shelter Services CEO Lisa Glow tells Axios that advocates will ask Gov. Doug Ducey to deposit another $60 million of federal pandemic relief funds into the Housing Trust Fund.
Of note: The legislature also allocated additional funding for homelessness services.
- $10 million in grants for cities or towns to establish work programs for people experiencing homelessness.
- $10 million for transitional housing for youth aging out of foster care.
- $3 million for veteran housing at Fort Whipple in Prescott.
- $500,000 for programs to assist pregnant women experiencing homelessness.
The big picture: This significant investment in housing and homelessness services comes as the Valley sees record home and rental prices and a growing homeless population.
- "This is an acknowledgment in a bipartisan budget that we have got to take action on housing and homelessness," Glow says.
What's next: Ducey is expected to sign the budget into law.
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