Housing insecurity is a problem for Phoenix. That could help

Isn’t it nice to know that while the rest of us slipped through the pandemic, enterprising teams of bright, ambitious people were trying to figure out how to solve one of the worst problems in our state – one that remains with COVID-19 was made worse

Long before the novel coronavirus entered the Sonoran Desert, the Arizonans faced the third worst affordable housing shortage in the United States.

The supply of residential real estate can no longer keep up today.

Nearly 30% of respondents told Arizona State University researchers that their housing situation became less secure during the pandemic.

The challenge: address security

The Arizona Community Foundation has partnered with the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University and the Arizona Republic to initiate and solve fundamental problem solving in our state azcentral.com launches the New Arizona Prize: Housing Security Challenge.

In a virtual awards ceremony on Wednesday, ACF President and CEO Steve Seleznow and Lisa Urias, Chief Program & Community Engagement Officer, awarded $ 250,000 to the winning team to develop their proposal to help seniors cope with the homelessness crisis.

The East Valley Senior Home Sharing (SHS) program, led by the Tempe Community Action Agency, proposes bringing older adults at risk of homelessness together with roommates who can share housing costs, camaraderie, and responsibility.

SHS combines the talents of AZCEND, Aster Aging, ASU’s Watts College of Public Service / Action Nexus for Homelessness and Valley of the Sun United Way to provide all-round services that enable senior citizens to find permanent and independent housing in difficult circumstances.

The winning plan aims to save seniors’ lives

The East Valley Senior Home Sharing (SHS) Program, winner of the $ 250,000 New Arizona Award: Housing Security Challenge.  Pictured are Trinity Donovan, CEO of AZCEND (left);  Deborah Arteaga, executive director of the Tempe Community Action Agency (center);  and Deborah Schaus, CEO of Aster Aging (right).

They also believe the program will save lives.

According to the Homeless Management Information System, seniors are the fastest growing cohort in Maricopa County to suffer from homelessness. More than 520 homeless people died on Metro Phoenix in 2020, the Republic of Arizona reported. Almost half of them were senior citizens.

“The East Valley Senior Home Sharing Program does exactly what this challenge should do,” Seleznow said. “Their detailed plan takes into account the many unique challenges seniors face in finding permanent shelter and provides smart, scalable solutions. We look forward to seeing this program grow and become a national model. “

Five finalists were selected from 13 “outstanding” proposals. A five-person selection committee examined each of the finalist proposals.

The Arizona Community Foundation also awarded $ 10,000 grants to each of the four remaining finalist teams:

  • The eviction crisis – protecting people, saving houses.
  • Closing the gap: Subsidy for housing security after homelessness.
  • Community Voices: Resident Led solutions for living stability.
  • Landlord Incentive Partnership Pilot for sustainable affordable living.

The Arizona Community Foundation has been committed to the improvement of the state of Arizona since the organization was founded in 1978. The nationwide family of charity funds is supported by thousands of Arizonans. ACF and its subsidiaries have provided more than $ 1 billion in grants, grants, and loans to nonprofits, schools, and government agencies.

The Housing Security Challenge builds on previous New Arizona awards that focus on water awareness (2015), innovation (2016), and public art (2018). All of these competitions bring together problem solvers from across the state and beyond.

The award aims to create new problem solving networks between these teams of people and to bring home the truism that all Arizonans should be invested in solving the important challenges facing our state.

This is an opinion of the editorial staff of the Republic of Arizona. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor to weigh up.

Comments are closed.