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Senator shared feedback from Arizonans following two events she held in the state focusing on housing affordability and accessibility
WASHINGTON – Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema spoke about ongoing housing affordability and accessibility challenges in Arizona and across the country, citing two recent events she convened last month with leading Arizona housing stakeholders, in a Senate Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee hearing.
“Housing is one of the biggest issues I hear about in Arizona. Whether you are trying to rent or own, the cost of housing in Arizona is outpacing wages. The cost of housing in Arizona has a direct impact on the rise in homelessness in Arizona,” said Sinema, a member of the Senate Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee.
Earlier this week, Sinema met with the White Mountain Apache and San Carlos Housing Authorities to discuss solutions to housing affordability and accessibility challenges in tribal communities. Sinema discussed successes with both tribal housing authorities – including how they built more affordable housing units using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) alongside the Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG), expanding accessible housing options while supporting careers for Tribal members. The Senator also pledged to continue working with the Tribes to expand affordable housing by breaking down barriers that prevent them from utilizing infrastructure funding and remediating existing homes that have been contaminated with methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Last month, Sinema convened two events with leading housing stakeholders in Phoenix – one focused on homelessness and services, and one around housing supply and affordability. Sinema first toured UMOM, the largest shelter services provider in Maricopa County and saw firsthand how their innovative model provides child care and workforce development alongside shelter services. Afterwards, Sinema brought industry stakeholders and affordability advocates together to assess the market in Arizona, identify supply chain challenges that hold capital investment back, and craft solutions to those challenges.
During these events, Sinema heard that Arizona has a supply shortage, and to make housing more affordable and accessible for everyday Arizonans, more units need to be built. Specifically, Arizona needs about 250,000 more affordable units to meet the increasing demand.
According to a December report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness in Arizona rose by a staggering 23% from 2020 to 2022. At the same time, the median price of homes in Phoenix rose by more than $100,000 between January 2021 and July 2022 – illustrating the severity of the homelessness crisis and affordable housing shortage.
In her childhood, Sinema’s family struggled with housing insecurity and experienced homelessness. In January, the Senator secured the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers needed to provide permanent housing to Arizona veterans experiencing homelessness.