by Tom Joyce
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will spend an additional $35 million to develop affordable housing units in the region and down payment assistance programs for prospective homeowners.
These new programs increase Maricopa County’s total affordable housing investment initiatives to $65 million.
“With this new funding, we’re not only adding new, affordable inventory to the market, we’re also providing down payment assistance so more residents can own their homes. I’m hopeful this can free up more rentals as well,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, District 3, said in a press release from the county.
This new initiative includes a mix of projects that will help add to the affordable housing stock and promote homeownership in Gila Bend, the Phoenix metropolitan area, and Wickenburg.
“We are grateful to the Board for the opportunity to bring these projects to fruition which increase the supply of affordable housing and advance homeownership opportunities for low-to-moderate-income individuals and families, helping them enjoy the benefits of homeownership and strengthen the surrounding community,” Jacqueline Edwards, Director of Maricopa County’s Human Services Department, said.
The $35 million in funding, which comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), will support future projects as well as these initiatives, according to the county:
Gila Bend: Community Land Trust: $10,200,000
More than $10 million will be used to acquire, rehabilitate and resell approximately 83 single-family homes for homeownership for applicants earning at or below 120% of the Area Median Income adjusted by household size. $5.2 million will be used for homes scattered throughout the Phoenix metropolitan area at yet to be determined locations. $5 million in funding will be dedicated to sites located in Gila Bend.
The project ensures that the homes remain permanently affordable through a Community Land Trust program. Through this model, the home is sold to a low-to-moderate income individual or family for below market value. To keep the price low, buyers pay only for the house itself, and the CLT retains ownership of the land on which the home is located. This arrangement allows families to build equity and enjoy all the benefits of homeownership while the CLT retains the initial investment and keeps the resale price low for future buyers.
Down Payment Assistance: $4,508,592
Maricopa County will provide approximately 128 future homeowners with $35,000 each in down payment assistance to purchase single-family homes within the county. Eligible applicants will have earnings at or below 120% of the AMI adjusted by household size. Participants in this program will receive financial and homeownership counseling from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency.
Phoenix: Alta Vista Ranch: $2,565,000
Maricopa County is providing more than $2.5 million to Habitat for Humanity of Central Arizona to develop and build a 25-home community known as Alta Vista Ranch. The 4.52-acre property is located at the southwest corner of Alta Vista Road and 13th Place in Phoenix and is expected to cost a total of $8.9 million to build. The development will feature 25 single-family, energy-efficient homes built in partnership with future homeowners, community members, and sponsors. Eligible future homeowners will have a household income of 80% below the AMI, can pay an affordable, no-interest mortgage loan, and complete 400 hours of volunteer service, or ‘Sweat Equity.’
Phoenix: Acacia Heights II: $1.5 Million
A 1.22 acre parcel at the southeast corner of North 7th Avenue and Camelback Road will be developed into a 66-unit affordable rental housing community known as Acacia Heights. Maricopa County is contributing $1.5 million in ARPA funding toward construction costs.
Wickenburg: Casa Del Sol Development: $480,000
This 16-lot subdivision on a 2.9-acre site near 439 W. Palm Drive in Wickenburg will include 12 single-family detached homes designated as affordable housing on a 2.9-acre site.
For more information on the types of housing assistance that are available to people in Maricopa County, visit Maricopa.gov/Rescue.
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Tom Joyce is a contributor to The Center Square.