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Senior Housing Development near Downtown Phoenix Wins National Award

[Source: City of Phoenix Press Release]

Source: Orcutt Winslow

The city of Phoenix Housing Department will receive a national award for the McCarty on Monroe senior housing development, adding to two state awards and one local award previously received this year.

The 2010 Award of Excellence for McCarty on Monroe comes from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and will be officially announced on Nov. 2 at NAHRO’s National Conference and Exhibition in Reno, Nev. The city’s Housing Department is one of 23 programs nationwide to receive the 2010 award, which recognizes outstanding innovation and achievement in housing and community development programs throughout the country.

“McCarty on Monroe combines serving seniors, honoring history, green design and building, linking to light rail and creating jobs,” said District 8 Councilman Michael Johnson.

“It is a great development for our central city.”

In August, the Arizona Chapter of NAHRO selected McCarty on Monroe as the Housing Innovation Program of the Year for 2010. In September, the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) recognized McCarty on Monroe with the 2010 Brian Mickelsen Housing Hero Award for Exemplary Multifamily Project. ADOH commended “a unique opportunity to preserve existing public housing assistance, add new public housing units to the city’s elderly housing inventory, provide additional low-income tax credit units and provide seniors with low incomes the access to affordable housing units with immediate light-rail train access.”

At the 30th annual Environmental Excellence Awards program in October, the Valley Forward Association honored McCarty on Monroe with an Award of Merit for Livable Communities. Designed to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Standard, the housing complex includes 100 percent fluorescent fixtures, flooring and carpet made from recycled rubber, interior finishes that are low- or no-VOC, 154 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof and water-saving, desert landscaping.

Source: Orcutt Winslow

Located at 1130 E. Monroe St. (map), McCarty on Monroe is a senior housing complex that opened in October 2009. Previously, the 1.5-acre site housed 24 senior public housing units, constructed in 1963 as McCarty Apartments. Leon McCarty, a Phoenix native and local real estate agent with a small family-owned firm, grew up in the neighborhood that today surrounds McCarty on Monroe. He built the apartments to fill the need for quality and affordable housing for low-income families and families of color. McCarty often said he hoped the complex might someday serve senior citizens. The city’s Housing Department acquired the apartments in 1977 and preserved McCarty’s original intent for the complex as affordable and safe housing for seniors.

Today, McCarty on Monroe consists of 34 public housing units and 35 low-income housing tax credit units. Placing the parking at grade and building the residential units above the parking allowed the city to expand to 69 units from the original 24. All units are clustered around a central, landscaped courtyard, creating a sense of community and interaction among the residents. The landscaped courtyard includes raised-seat walls, a gazebo, shade trellises and outdoor seating. McCarty on Monroe was designed to complement its urban setting while promoting a sense of “home.” The subtle, colorful palette complements the architecture, character and demographics of the surrounding community, while many “green” elements also were included in the design.

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Downtown Phoenix affordable housing project completed with stimulus funds

[Source: Arizona Guardian] — On Tuesday, September 15, Governor Jan Brewer and U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims visited the construction site of Catherine Arms, a low income housing project being built at 315 W. Fillmore Ave. with the help of federal stimulus funds.  “The Arizona Department of Housing has identified this project as a very worthwhile program that will provide assistance to extremely needy victims of domestic and substance abuse,” said Governor Brewer.  “Catherine Arms is one of many projects receiving assistance in the State of Arizona, providing much needed housing for working families.”

Native American Connections began rehabilitating the Catherine Arms multifamily rental project when construction stalled due to the current economic situation.  Through the federal Tax Credit Assistance Program (TCAP), established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Arizona Department of Housing was able to provide additional monies to fill a funding gap, saving jobs that would have been lost and allowing construction to continue on the project.  When complete, Catherine Arms will consist of 28 one-bedroom rental units, five of which will be reserved for victims of domestic violence and/or chronic substance abuse.  The amount of funding allocated to this project from TCAP is approximately $500,000.

How should Arizona respond to affordable housing crisis?

Join Arizona Town Hall leaders for a presentation and “action-focused” discussion on the recommendations from the 93rd Arizona Town Hall entitled, “Housing Arizona.”  For central Phoenix residents…

  • Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009
  • Time: 7:30 – 9 a.m.
  • Place: University Club, 39 E. Monte Vista Rd., Phoenix
  • Cost: $20 for breakfast

For more information or to register, click here.

How Phoenix fared in sustainability rankings of 50 U.S. cities

[Source: Arizona Republic] — SustainLane.com ranked cities in 16 green categories.  Here’s how Phoenix stacks up overall against 49 other large municipalities in key areas:

  • Low natural-disaster risk: 3rd
  • Knowledge base and communications: 9th
  • Planning and land use: 11th
  • City innovation: 12th
  • Housing affordability: 29th
  • Green building: 33rd
  • Metro street congestion: 33rd
  • Local food and agriculture: 34th
  • Air quality: 47th
  • Water supply: 49th

Where’s the affordable housing, asks DV report… in 2004

According to the 2004 report, Downtown Voices: Creating a Sustainable Downtown,” a recent study of housing in downtown Phoenix shows a striking dichotomy between demand for affordable residential units and the products that have been and are being developed.  The study indicates that while the median price of a new attached home in Phoenix is $177,000, a similar property in downtown Phoenix would cost approximately $300,000 (Meyers Group, 2003, Executive Summary). Part of this dichotomy results from the destruction of affordable housing associated with the development of the city’s downtown infrastructure.  And part of the problem is based on the City of Phoenix’s policy of providing incentives, including generous tax benefits, to developers who wish to build high-end housing.

The result is that almost all new units developed in Phoenix during the past decade are affordable only to those with minimum salaries of $65,000, whereas the medium CMA (Consolidated Metropolitan Area) income is $20,352, a reflection of the fact that 41% of downtown residents are employed in the service sector, earning an average of $7 an hour.  Beyond this, 93% of apartments in downtown Phoenix are one-bedroom units, whereas 39.1% of the population consists of low-income Latino families.  Affordable housing units renting from $298 to $467 a month in downtown Phoenix are always 100% full, as compared to market-rate housing, where vacancy rates fluctuate between 10-13%.

What’s the status of affordable housing in downtown Phoenix?

[Source: Teresa Brice, Local Initiatives Service Corp.] — With the fall 2008 Arizona Town Hall focusing on Arizona’s housing woes, housing advocates are busy compiling background data and information to help bring participants “up to speed” on the issue before the town hall is held.  Regarding affordable housing in and around downtown Phoenix, here are two important recent documents:

Fall Arizona Town Hall to tackle housing woes

Urban Sprawl, Phoenix, AZThe 93rd Arizona Town Hall “Housing Arizona” will address housing issues throughout Arizona with a focus on workforce and affordable housing.  The 93rd session will be held at the Grand Canyon, November 2-5.  Under the guidance of University of Arizona professors Corky Poster and Marilyn Robinson, researchers are currently drafting the background report for Town Hall participants.  Town Hall leaders also are gathering nominations for participants.  If you are interested in being a participant of the 93rd Arizona Town Hall, click here to submit a request.

ASU Stardust Center unveils new website on affordable, sustainable housing

The ASU Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family is pleased to announce its new website.  There you’ll find a wealth of research, design, and educational resources and innovations that contribute to creating healthy, sustainable, affordable homes and communities.  During the next few weeks they’ll continue to upload more content, so you’re encouraged to bookmark their site and keep visiting.  If you have questions, contact them via the “Contact Us” tab.

Arizona Town Hall to focus on affordable housing, Nov. 2-5

The 93rd Arizona Town Hall “Housing Arizona” will concentrate discussion on finding solutions for filling the need for workforce/affordable housing throughout the state.  The 93rd session, November 2-5, 2008, will be held at the Grand Canyon.  Attendance is by invitation only and space is limited.  If interested in attending this Town Hall, complete an application form for review by the selection committee.

Housing is “key” campaign to bring attention to impacts of state trust fund

On Monday, March 10, 2008, the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and Tucson Planning Council for the Homeless will hold a press conference at 12:30 p.m. at the Arizona Legislature to illustrate the consequences of proposed cuts to the state Housing Trust Fund.

Over the last three weeks, housing providers all over the state have been collecting keys as part of The Housing is “Key” Campaign to demonstrate the overall impact of the state Housing Trust Fund (HTF) in Arizona.  Over 45,000 keys have been collected in this timeframe from a variety of HTF recipients that will be delivered to Legislative Leadership and members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee following the press conference.  Collection sites have included homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, apartment complexes, home owners, and those who have benefited from the support of the Housing Trust Fund over the years.  “The aim of this campaign is to show that the Housing Trust Fund is an economic stimulus for the state, representing 45,000 units of housing over the last five years in Arizona,” reports Paul Harris of LISC.  “During an economic downturn, it is penny wise and pound foolish to sweep money from a fund that helps stabilize Arizona’s economy.”

The Housing Trust Fund is the only dedicated fund source in Arizona for foreclosure assistance, eviction prevention, and homeownership promotion.  Also, without the HTF, many of the state’s homeless and domestic violence shelters would not have facilities or the money to expand their capacity.  Furthermore, according to the Arizona Department of Housing, the return on investment of the HTF is an impressive 5 to 1, helping to boost the state’s economy and lessening the burden on other systems that are impacted by families becoming homeless.

For more information, contact Allie Bones, Executive Director, Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence, by phone 602-279-2900 x213 or e-mail.