Happy 1st Birthday to Us!
One year ago, on July 1st, after nearly two years of exploratory work and preparation, the combined forces of the former Arizona Coalition to End Homelessness and the Arizona Housing Alliance merged to form the Arizona Housing Coalition. We are a collaborative association that leads in the efforts to end homelessness and advocate for a safe, affordable home for ALL Arizonans, made up of over 200 organizational members doing the work every day to serve our most vulnerable populations, directed by leaders and experts, with the support of advocates across our state, fighting to serve and house Arizona.
There could not be a more critical time to amplify the voice for affordable housing solutions, in addition to increased funding for supportive services to help all Arizonans get and maintain safe, stable housing. Across the state, and nation, we're seeing headline, after headline, after headline, after headline, and even more headlines about the short supply of housing options affordable to so many, but especially our state's working class and minimum-wage earners. According to a national report released this year, Arizona is short nearly 160,000 affordable housing units, and in the face of that shortage, an Arizona minimum-wage worker would have to work 1.8 full time jobs, or 70+ hours per week, in order to afford a modest two-bedroom rental. Despite an increase in the minimum wage statewide, the costs of living continue to outpace income levels for those already living paycheck to paycheck, particularly in Flagstaff, Maricopa County, and Prescott.
So what has been done, is being done, and can be done about this ever growing crisis?
At the Arizona Housing Coalition, we continue to push forward in our work to end homelessness and housing instability through advocacy, education, and collaboration.
- Continued our efforts to restore the state housing trust fund. We were successful in seeing that all future net earnings from the AZ Housing Finance Authority’s single family mortgage programs are transferred to the State Housing Trust Fund. But even with the estimated $2.5 million in earnings of that fund transfer, is falls far short from the $30 million the fund once had to meet the housing needs of our growing state. We are encouraged by off-session bipartisan legislative discussions to restore this funding stream
- Built relationships and educated lawmakers on efforts to localize the federal low income housing tax credit at the state level to foster the public-private partnership necessary to see additional affordable homes created in our state.
- Warded off attacks at the federal level to slash investments in affordable housing through advocacy alerts, letter writing campaigns, district visits, and Capitol Hill lobbying efforts.
- The 24th Annual Statewide Conference attracted over 550+ homeless and housing service professionals for its second sell out year, with over 55 interactive, informative sessions
- Since 2015, over 1,700 professionals statewide have received 200+ hours of training and education on best practices in ending homelessness.
- Execute the goals and objectives of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Action Plan to End Homelessness Among Veterans Update and work towards creating a statewide By-Name List of Veterans experiencing homelessness and then work to reduce their housing crisis.
- Overhauled the veteran toolkit procurement efforts, which assists veterans who have secured employment yet may be in need of supplies or resources in preparation for the first day on the job, such as safety helmets, work boots, or specialized tools.
- Continue work in the community around access and opportunities for all Arizonans, including access to fair, safe, and an affordable place to call home.
Policy is moving quickly at all levels from federal to state to municipal. We've seen progress, like the creation of "opportunity zones" by the federal tax cuts, and the recent decision by the Flagstaff City Council to include a $25 million affordable housing bond to the November ballot. But we've also seen setbacks, primarily at the federal level with proposed rescission cuts to the federal budget, proposed rent hikes, and proposed work requirements for those in most need of public assistance. Continue to be an advocate for an end to homelessness through increased access to and supply of affordable housing options by JOINING US. Learn more about membership and subscribe to our Advocacy Alerts to stay in the know.
We also encourage all members and homeless and housing service professionals to join us on the links for our Annual Networking and Golf Outing at Starr Pass Golf Club in Tucson on Wednesday, August 22nd, or at our Annual Member Meeting & Networking Reception, held in conjunction with the ADOH Housing Forum, coming up Thursday, August 23rd, from 6:00PM to 8:00PM. Learn more and register for the golf event HERE, and RSVP to attend our networking reception HERE.
We invite our members interested in professional development to join us for our upcoming "Fair Housing & Tenancy Training" presented by our friends from the Southwest Fair Housing Council and Community Legal Services of Arizona, on Thursday, August 2nd in Phoenix. Learn more & register HERE.
Coming up in November is our 25th Annual Statewide Conference, which is bittersweet as we celebrate a quarter of a century of providing training and awareness to direct-service providers working to end homelessness across Arizona. This year, we are excited to welcome as our keynote Mr. Richard Rothstein, author of the bestselling book, "The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America." Following along with national conversations about the intersections of health and housing as well as equity and housing justice, we look forward to providing a professional development and networking setting to push these conversations forward into action which results in healthy, housed communities throughout Arizona. Learn more about the conference HERE.
We are proud of the work being done through our program, the Arizona Veterans StandDown Alliance, working to coordinate the annual Maricopa County StandDown and other statewide StandDowns and veteran resource fairs. Still to come this year is the White Mountain StandDown in Show Low on Saturday, August 11th; the Cochise County StandDown in Sierra Vista on Saturday, August 18th; the Yavapai County StandDown in Prescott on Friday and Saturday, September 28th-29th; and the Western Arizona StandDown in Yuma on Wednesday, October 24th. We are also excited to announce the 2019 Maricopa County StandDown will be held January 24th-26th at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix. Learn more and get involved in our work to end homelessness, starting with veterans, by clicking HERE.
Armed with this information about the ever growing need for funding and increased investments in affordable housing, we thank you for your advocacy and look forward to your continued support as we work towards lasting solutions. As we move into our second year as the Arizona Housing Coalition, we are honored to count you as a valued supporter and partner in this work, and look forward to continuing to be the voice for the many organizations, agencies, and programs working to end homelessness and housing instability in Arizona every single day.