By Juliette Rihl | Arizona Republic
Phoenix-area housing experts and advocates are eager for Gov.-elect Katie Hobbs to move forward with her housing plan, which they largely praised as a comprehensive approach to addressing Arizona’s housing crisis. But some experts also said the plan could go further.
Hobbs’ plan proposes encouraging local zoning changes, providing legal aid to families facing eviction and investing in the Housing Trust Fund, which funds affordable housing development and assistance programs, among other strategies.
At a Nov. 1 press conference, Hobbs introduced the plan and called housing one of the state’s “most urgent problems.”
The state is short roughly 270,000 housing units, according to the Arizona Department of Housing. Phoenix-area eviction rates are continuing to climb, reaching record levels. And the Valley has the highest inflation rate in the country, making housing even less affordable.
“We can’t tackle the housing crisis without tackling skyrocketing costs,” said Hobbs.
Joanna Carr, research and policy director for the Arizona Housing Coalition, said Hobbs’ plan is “substantive” and “well thought-out.”
“It provides a lot of hope in the political will, I would say, that the new leadership will bring,” Carr said.
What Hobbs’ plan says
Hobbs’ plan introduces solutions across five core strategies:
- Empowering local communities to build more affordable housing, such as by expanding the state’s affordable housing tax credit pilot program and encouraging local zoning changes;
- Cutting “needless bureaucracy,” which includes streamlining access to state services for families in need and encouraging innovative housing solutions;
- Protecting Arizonans, including by launching a pilot program to provide legal aid for people facing eviction and allowing for more regulation of short-term vacation rentals;
- Comprehensively fixing the homelessness crisis, such as by investing $200 million in the Housing Trust Fund and building housing for veterans; and
- Lowering costs for renters and homeowners, including creating a rebate program for families at risk of not being able to afford their utility bills and funding a home repair program for seniors.
Hobbs’ campaign described the housing plan as an “ambitious, but necessary, pathway to finally tackle the housing crisis that has plagued our state for too long.”
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