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Valley families are feeling the pressure of the affordable housing crisis

Arizona’s Department of Housing director said the affordable housing crisis has been exacerbated by rapid growth in our state.

PHOENIX — Sky-rocketing house prices and a low home inventory, those are just two of the problems leading Arizona's affordable housing crisis. 

The Arizona Department of Housing officials said a lot of issues are compounding, increasing home prices and rentals in our state.

Some of those problems Arizona is facing are land cost, approving zoning for apartments and affordable housing in the greater-Phoenix area, increased labor costs and supply chain problems.

Unfortunately, the consequences of those problems are trickling down to Arizonans. According to Rent Café, the average rent for an 805 square foot apartment is about $1,400 dollars a month. That’s up from about $1,200 a month in 2020 and nearly $1,100 per month in 2019.

And according to the Homeless Management Information System, homelessness is increasing in Maricopa County. A snapshot of the county reveals more than 5,100 homeless in September of 2021. That’s up from nearly 4,000 homeless in September 2020.

Rey Galindo, a single dad of two, said he struggled to find affordable housing in Phoenix.

“The landlord was going to raise the rent to $1,350, so from $875 dollars to $1,350 was a huge jump for me," Galindo said.

After bouncing around a couple of years ago, Galindo is thankful he landed in an affordable housing complex in Phoenix with his two boys. 

“It feels good that we have a home to go to," Galindo said.

Galindo said he hopes Arizona opens more reasonable housing options for people trying to find a place to live. 

Arizona’s director of the Department of Housing said the affordable housing crisis has been exacerbated by rapid growth in our state. Director Tom Simplot, said an analysis from his department shows Maricopa County is short about 150,000 units. And the state of Arizona is short another 100,000 units.

Simplot added, our state is in the hole when it comes to housing needs.

“If we’re building 30,000 to 40,000 new homes in Maricopa county over next 12 months and we need 150,000, new apartments and homes, by time we add up to 30,000 to 40,000 new single family homes, and the new maybe 10,000 to 12,000 new apartment units, you can do the math," Simplot said. "It’s going to take a while to catch up.”

Simplot said the state is working on incentives to open the construction pipeline. The Arizona Department of Housing is releasing 24 million dollars to close financing gaps to help developers build more affordable housing units.

And Arizona is expected to get hundreds of millions of federal dollars, planned to help build new housing too.

Simplot said he doesn’t know exactly how much federal dollars will be made available for Arizona. But, his department plans to leverage different pots of money to get as much housing built, as quickly as possible.

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