Arizona's Housing Trust Fund is getting $60 million to fund affordable housing developments and housing aid for the growing population across the state.
The money is part of an almost $18 million bipartisan state budget passed by lawmakers Thursday. Gov. Doug Ducey has signaled he will approve it.
One-third of the housing funding is earmarked to help rural areas with Arizona’s growing housing crisis. Another $4 million of the total will go to affordable housing programs for the Navajo and Hopi tribal nations.
Arizona has a housing shortage. The state needs at least 270,000 more homes, according to the Arizona Housing Department. Rapidly rising rents and home prices over the past few years have exacerbated the problem.
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“We know affordable housing is not a Republican or Democrat issue,” said Joan Serviss, executive director of the Arizona Housing Coalition. “This bipartisan investment shows that it is an Arizona issue, and this money can be invested immediately to families and individuals who are being priced out of homes."
Metro Phoenix led the nation for rent increases in 2021, with an almost 30% jump. Home prices in the Phoenix area have skyrocketed 60% in the past two years.
Incomes haven’t climbed nearly as much.
In metro Phoenix, which is among the top 10 metro areas facing the most severe affordable housing shortages, 20 rentals are available for every 100 extremely low-income renters, according to the latest annual survey by the nonprofit National Low Income Housing Coalition.
The Housing Trust Fund, traditionally funded by the sale of unclaimed property in Arizona, provided $10 million to $20 million a year to provide housing for people experiencing homelessness until it was diverted to the state's general fund during the Great Recession.
Since 2012, the trust fund had been capped at $2.5 million. In 2019, it received a one-time allocation of $15 million that was spent within months.
Stimulus money has helped fund rental and other housing aid during the pandemic.
Housing analysts have been lobbying for more money for the trust fund for years. Many hope some of Arizona’s money from the American Rescue Plan can be added to the Housing Trust’s funding as well.
“I congratulate the Legislators for their work,” said Sheila Harris, founder of the Arizona Housing Department. “However, to address the ever-expanding housing needs in our state, yearly dedicated funding at this level or greater is needed.”
Coverage of housing insecurity on azcentral.com and in The Arizona Republic is supported by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.
Reach the reporter at [email protected] or 602-444-8040. Follow her on Twitter @catherinereagor.
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