Tempe Invests In Affordable Housing With New Hometown For All Plan

By Austin Fast
Published: Monday, January 18, 2021 - 5:47am
Updated: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 - 12:59pm
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Luxury apartment complexes are popping up around Tempe, and now 50% of the permit fees that developers pay to the city will fund affordable housing.

The Tempe City Council approved the Hometown for All initiative at its Jan. 14 meeting. Mayor Corey Woods said he hopes this plan will ensure anyone who wants to live in Tempe can afford it.

"Every new development project will have funds dedicated for both attainable and affordable projects," Woods said Jan. 15, at the 2021 MLK Diversity Awards Ceremony. "Every child should have a chance to experience stability, comfort and prosperity. Every family should be able to reach for and have the opportunity to achieve the American dream. I'm proud that the city of Tempe is taking steps to make that happen."

For every development project built in Tempe, an amount equivalent to 50% of certain permitting fees paid to the city will be directed from the city’s general fund to the Tempe Coalition for Affordable Housing, a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the City of Tempe Public Housing Authority. From there, the funds will be used to buy and rehabilitate properties, or to buy land and request competitive offers from developers or nonprofit partners to build affordable or workforce units.

Affordable and workforce housing programs have defined income levels as calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For example, a single-person household making $43,600 or less and a family of four making $62,250 or less would qualify for housing programs. At these income levels, this group of people could include seniors, people with disabilities, retail and service workers, teachers, public safety employees and young professionals. Market-rate housing is everything else that sells or rents at a range of prices determined by the market.

Tempe estimates its current mix of housing units within city limits is 49 percent affordable, 34 percent workforce and 16 percent market rate. The city hopes to maintain these ratios through 2040, and Woods said Tempe will have to accelerate the addition of affordable and workforce housing to meet that goal.

Woods and Tempe's city council will continue to welcome voluntary contributions from land developers, as well as other entities and individuals, to fund affordable housing in Tempe.

“I want to see Tempe go above and beyond the successes we have already seen,” Woods said. “This is about helping people in need find housing here that they can afford.”

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