North Central News, the voice of the north central Phoenix community, published its July issue today with a cover story addressing the metro area’s desperate need for affordable housing. NCN was also there for the opening of UMOM’s 19West affordable apartment complex and included it in today’s story. We appreciate NCN for bringing attention to this important issue.

When Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego gave her first State of the City address last month, she highlighted the growing need for affordable housing in what has become the nation’s fifth-largest city.

Celebrating the grand opening of UMOM’s 19West affordable housing complex are, from left: Kris Newman, chair of the UMOM Board of Directors; Phoenix City Councilwoman Debra Stark; 19West resident Susan G.; Darlene Newsom, CEO of UMOM; Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego; and (former) Phoenix City Councilwoman Vania Guevara (photo by Teri Carnicelli).

“Low wage earners maintain a fragile balance in their lives. Any single unexpected expense can send the entire household into crisis, and possibly, onto the streets,” she said.

Gallego spoke about the city’s responsibility in leveraging its own land assets to do more to bolster affordable housing, and pointed out that “every city and town should be doing their part to ensure services and housing are spread across the metro area and not just in one small area of one specific city.”

The call for more affordable housing in one of the country’s fastest-growing cities isn’t a new one. But it is becoming more critical as struggling families and single low-wage earners are finder fewer and fewer affordable options of where to live.

Per the U.S. government, housing is deemed “affordable” when it consumes 30 percent or less of a family’s monthly income. A February 2019 report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that, given Arizona’s minimum wage of $11 per hour, a head of household would need to work 56 hours or more a week to afford a two-bedroom unit in the greater Phoenix area.

Making matters worse is the fact that for every extremely low-income household in Arizona, only 25 affordable rental housing units are available.

Two Valley nonprofits have already been answering the call for more affordable housing. UMOM recently opened a new housing development project, while Catholic Charities has one already under construction—and both are in the Central Phoenix core. READ ON: