We are convening and connecting with our partners across the state to advocate for immediate relief for those experiencing homelessness and those on the brink of losing their homes, as well as putting forward recommendations for system changes and structural reforms to create a better housing market for all. The policy choices we make now to weather this virus can also lead us to a better path for the future that helps all Arizonans in their pursuit of a safe, affordable place to call home.
• Adopt a State Affordable Housing Tax Credit
The proposed state Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is modeled after the federal public-private program signed into law by President Ronald Reagan as part of his Tax Reform Act of 1986. Made permanent in 1993, the federal LIHTC has since been sustained by both Democratic and Republican presidents. Today, Arizona's housing market averages about 1,500 new affordable housing units annually, about half what our market currently needs. A comprehensive impact analysis from Arizona economist Elliott D. Pollack and Co. shows that passage of a state LIHTC would result in the construction of at least 6,140 additional affordable rental units in six years. The state LIHTC concept, enacted in 22 states and counting, would also create about 1,800 construction jobs annually and about $2 billion in total economic activity, according to Pollack's analysis.
• Restore the state housing trust fund
The Housing Trust Fund is used throughout the state to financially support services such as rental assistance, foreclosure and eviction prevention, construction for affordable housing, and emergency housing needs. A large source of the Housing Trust Fund's budget was derived from the sale of unclaimed property until 2010, when recession-era cutbacks resulted in an annual $2.5 million cap on the Fund's main source of financing. At its peak in 2007, the Fund received $40 million and provided housing relief for more than 12,000 households. Working with our lawmakers, the Coalition was successful in obtaining a one-time infusion during the 2019 legislative session, but one-time funding isn't the sustainable solution we need to address the ongoing challenges of housing insecurity and homelessness. Had the fund been restored to its original funding formula, it would have been instrumental in meeting the urgent needs of people who are experiencing homelessness or who are on the brink and affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• reconvene the arizona Commission on housing and homelessness
As the coronavirus pandemic has shown, blending and braiding federal, state and local response dollars takes coordination. Reconvening the Arizona Commission on Housing and Homelessness, originally created under Governor Janet Napolitano, would ensure not only a coordinated statewide response to housing insecurity and COVID-19, but also guarantee accountability and transparency, and promote fiscal responsibility by identifying and eliminating duplicate programs and costs. It would also preserve the objectives of Governor Ducey's Goal Council on Ending Homelessness.
Advocacy is the heart of what we do.
At the direction of our Board of Directors and our Advocacy Committee, we closely monitor issues and policies at our state's Capitol and are ready to act to advance sound policies and laws that stem the root causes of homelessness and create more affordable housing opportunities throughout Arizona. We are proud of the power the Coalition’s voice holds at our nation's Capitol, our state Capitol, and in our communities.
© 2019. Arizona Housing Coalition is a 501(c)(3) non-profit Federal Tax ID#: 86-0909029