A Tempe-sponsored initiative has created 100 units of affordable housing, with more on the way

By Vaughan Jones
Published: Sunday, November 21, 2021 - 8:30am
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Tempe recently dedicated another 15 apartments and single-family homes for permanently affordable rental housing through its Hometown for All initiative, bringing the total number to 100.

Mayor Corey Woods says 100 units is an important milestone, but Tempe is constantly working to bring more affordable housing to its residents.

“We’re trying to go out there ourselves and acquire more property for the purpose of creating more affordable housing opportunities, and we’re also just looking at other existing, city-owned lots, whether they have buildings on them or just plain dirt,” said Woods.

The initiative was approved in January, and has raised more than $6 million to be used in assisting developers in building affordable housing in the city.

Woods says Tempe is presented with challenges when trying to develop affordable housing, such as restrictions put in place by state law.

“Other states are able to say, ‘we will grant a developer an upped zoning on their project,’ but they're able to mandate that they set aside 10, 15 or 20% of the units as affordable. In Arizona, unfortunately, that practice has been made illegal,” said Woods.

Woods says available land in Tempe is scarce as well as expensive, so city funding is used more efficiently by converting land the city already owns.

He says Tempe is also performing environmental remediation on city-owned properties.

Woods says nonprofits and organizations are also building affordable housing in partnership with Tempe, meaning those looking for lower rents do not have to rely solely on the city for help.

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