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Pascua Yaqui Tribe on track with first-of-its-kind apartment building in 2025

Crews want to finish connecting road for new neighborhood, protect finished units from monsoon weather
Posted at 9:09 AM, Jun 26, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) -- — Contractor crews and Pascua Yaqui Tribe leaders are busy getting the rest of a new, modern, affordable neighborhood ready for families.

Part of the tribe's vision for this complex out on the west side includes a first-of-its-kind apartment complex for the community.

Rolando Jaimez, project manager for Pascua Yaqui Tribe of AZ's housing department, took KGUN 9 crews close to the construction sites. Jaimez said builders still have a couple things on their to-do list: namely, finishing the main road that will loop around the property and connect the entire neighborhood.

Hundreds of Pascua Yaqui tribe members and families are still on a waiting list for an affordable home; as of this visit, Jaimez said, they have 27 new town homes ready to give to qualifying community members.

Jaimez pointed to the project a couple hundred feet down the road from the block of town homes. He said the first two floors of the five-story building are pretty much done. For Jaimez, the tribe wants to commit to its promise to give families not only affordable options, but also adequate space for smaller families.

Given summer has also started, Jaimez said there's also a little bit of pressure to get things ready so that monsoon weather doesn't wash away their hard work.

"The framing is pretty much done," he said. "They're starting to the dry-in and that's important, because as you know, we're starting monsoon right now. Trying to get... things dried in, and just all tightened up so that if it does rain, that road, once they get set in — it should mitigate a lot of any potential flooding."

If things stay on schedule, Jaimez said families should be moving into the apartments by January of 2025. KGUN 9 has visited this new neighborhood and witnessed tribal members moving into the first full-size homes in April of 2023.

Jaimez acknowledged tribal leaders know the home waitlist is still quite long. To address the problem, he said that right across from the first multistory project, the housing team is ready to build another apartment building.

This vision of 45 apartments, he said, will cater to elders and tribe seniors, who in some cases, may no longer be able to maintain their larger homes. Jaimez said a specific feature of this senior community, will be adding conference rooms for nurses and social workers to set up mobile clinics and offices.

Jaimez said it's been rewarding as a tribal member to see his community's investment paying off, and benefiting from tax credit support granted by the Arizona Dept. of Housing.

"Putting the effort up front, sometimes it takes a while to get funding, and planning all this set up," he said. "When you see the actual end result and when you see families moving in and just their happiness; oh man, it's just a great satisfaction."

Looking forward, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe and other communities in Southern Arizona are also set to benefit $36 million dollars in grant money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

José Zozaya is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Before arriving in southern Arizona, José worked in Omaha, Nebraska where he covered issues ranging from local, state and federal elections, to toxic chemical spills, and community programs impacting immigrant families. Share your story ideas and important issues with José by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.