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State hopes loan program will help build more affordable housing in Arizona

Dunlap Pointe Apartments in Phoenix
Posted at 10:41 PM, Oct 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 01:41:49-04

PHOENIX — After two years of living on the streets, Danny Daniels has an apartment he can call home.

“I’ve been here four or five months," he said.

Daniels is a resident at the Dunlap Pointe Apartments in Phoenix. He is one of 32 formerly homeless vets who live in the 54-unit complex.

“It got rough sometimes finding food, money, and a job, that kind of thing. Nothing is stable. This is giving me a chance to be more stable,” Daniels said.

Daniels lives in a single resident apartment that's private and affordable.

Places like Dunlap Pointe, which opened in March, help, but the state estimates if it had 250,000 additional housing units available today, it could fill them. That includes 150,000 housing units in Maricopa County alone.

The demand for workers and low-income housing has risen dramatically as more people move to Arizona. Housing and rental prices have skyrocketed leaving many people unable to afford where they once lived.

"When you’re building workforce or extremely low-income housing you need every advantage, every additional source of financing you can get," said Arizona’s Director of Housing Tom Simplot.

A single unit can cost $150,000 to build, Simplot said. Supply and worker shortages, zoning fights with cities and towns all contribute to the final price.

Arizona is now working to encourage for-profit developers to build affordable housing. Arizona has set aside $24.5 million to provide up to $2 million in gap loans for shovel-ready projects.

“If we can get 1,000-1,500 units built right away, that does make a difference. Because of this housing shortage, it’s here today and we have people desperately seeking housing,” Simplot said.

Native American Connections, which built and operates Dunlap Pointe, took advantage of the state’s gap loan program.

Simplot is hoping other developers will do the same.