By Sam Kmack
December 16, 2023
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Chandler will receive $10 million from Maricopa County to help fund the construction of two new affordable housing projects
Chandler will receive $10 million from Maricopa County to help fund the construction of two new affordable housing projects that, when completed, will boost the total number of low-cost units in the city by more than half, according to figures from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The funds are part of the county's leftover federal pandemic relief cash. Over the past month the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has been spending it in quick order, dolling out more than $40 million of those funds for affordable housing initiatives in Valley cities from Wickenburg to Tempe to Phoenix.
In Chandler, the cash will help cover funding gaps for two new complexes near East Chandler Boulevard and South McQueen Road. That will offset inflation and supply chain shortages that wreaked havoc on developments across the Valley in recent years. The total costs of the projects aren't yet clear but will be upwards of $56 million.
Together, the developments will include 450 units that will be reserved for those making less than 60% of the area's median income, or less than $37,000 for individuals and $53,000 for families of four.
About 200 of those new units will replace existing ones that the city's Public Housing Authority expects to phase out of its inventory in the near future, while the other 250 will be brand new to the market. It will bring Chandler's total low-cost housing stock to 700 units, or about a 56% increase from where it currently stands.
"I’m very pleased that by partnering with the city of Chandler we will help create housing opportunities for working families struggling in today’s market," said Jack Sellers, the Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors from District 1, which encompasses Chandler, Tempe and part of Gilbert. "Finding a safe and affordable place to call home is difficult right now."
And locating low-to-moderately-priced units is becoming especially challenging in Chandler, according to data from the Maricopa Association of Governments.
The apartment market in Chandler has shifted from more than half of units renting for $1,000 or less in 2015, to 82% of units renting for at least $1,500 in 2023. And a quarter of those apartment units today are going for more than $2,000, a price category that represented just 1% of the market as recently as 2020.
Chandler also has a median rent cost of $1,720, which is the third highest of any Valley city with more than 100,000 residents. Gilbert, which has a median rent cost of $1,735, and Scottsdale are the only other sizable communities that beat-out Chandler's rent cost in the region.
Officials hope the 250 units will prevent the city's neediest from falling through the cracks. Both properties will be owned by the city and all of the units will be guaranteed to remain affordable for the next 45 years.
Plus, private developer Dominium is also seeking to build 280 affordable units in a separate project near Chandler. If that development and Chandler's own affordable housing projects come to fruition, the city could see a nearly 120% increase in its affordable housing stock in the near future.
"Since housing costs are unlikely to decrease to pre-pandemic levels, Maricopa County is funding housing solutions to help income-qualified households keep pace with rising rents," said Clint Hickman, Chairman of the county Board of Supervisors.
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