Maricopa County uses COVID relief funds for new affordable housing units across Valley

Maricopa County has dedicated more than $27 million of federal pandemic-relief funds to build new affordable housing across metro Phoenix, with priority for older adults, families and people experiencing chronic homelessness.

The five new projects, planned from Glendale to Mesa, are expected to bring more than 750 new units of housing to the Valley.

With these new investments, Maricopa County joins a growing number of local governments using the influx of federal funds from the pandemic to counter long-term issues with homelessness and housing affordability.

“This funding we’ve been able to receive from the federal government is clearly unprecedented and being able to have this opportunity to make decisions that will impact our community not just today but for years to come has been very important,” Jacqueline Edwards, Maricopa County human services director, said.

Maricopa County is expected to dedicate even more federal funds to future affordable housing projects. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved an additional $35 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds for housing and supportive services.

“It doesn’t just bring opportunity today for individuals and their families, but it brings hope and opportunity for years to come by increasing our affordable housing stock,” Edwards said.

Glendale senior housing
The county gave $9.5 million to Mercy Housing Mountain Plains to develop 144 affordable apartments for people age 55 and older on 4.4 acres of vacant land in Glendale at the northwest corner of 49th Avenue and West Glenn Drive.

The new complex will have 115 one-bedroom units and 29 two-bedroom units.

Older adults have become a significant part of the homeless population as rents surpass limited fixed incomes.


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Glendale saw a 139% increase in people living on the street between 2020 and 2022, ballooning to 406 from 170 in the most recent homeless point-in-time count.

“The growth in the West Valley over the past five years has been simply incredible, and while I’m certainly pro-growth and pro-development, we also need to look after our long-time residents, to make sure they’re provided for,” Supervisor Clint Hickman said in a statement.

Phoenix permanent supportive housing

The county awarded $8 million to Arizona Housing Inc. to covert a hotel in southeast Phoenix into 50 units of permanent, supportive housing.

This type of housing is typically used for people transitioning out of chronic homelessness or people with long-term mental health needs.

In addition to housing, the rehabbed hotel will provide on-site services to help people access employment and other resources.

Arizona Housing Inc. expects to open the new facility next summer.

“These units will be really key for those experiencing homelessness in our community, especially those who have experienced chronic homelessness,” Edwards said.

368 new units in Glendale
Affordable housing developer Gorman & Company received $6 million toward a massive project in Glendale.

The new complex at the southeast corner of 67th and Glendale avenues will be built in two phases. The first will have 186 units, and the second will have 182 units.

This project also received funding from the state and the city of Glendale and qualified for $2 million in state housing tax credits.

“With the growth we are experiencing in Glendale, public-private partnerships like this are crucial to improving the lives of all our residents,” Glendale Vice Mayor Jamie Aldama said in a statement.

Salt River Flats
The county awarded $3 million to Ulysses Development to help finance a 192-unit complex near Broadway Road and 14th Street in Phoenix.

The development, which also received state housing tax credits, is expected to open in March 2024 for families making 60% of the area median income, about $42,660 for a family of three in metro Phoenix.

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Mesa homes for families
The county will partner with Save the Family to purchase and rehab four rental homes in Mesa.

The county will spend about $1.2 million to acquire and renovate two- or three-bedroom homes in the 85201, 85210, 85203 or 85204 ZIP codes in Mesa.

The rental homes will be reserved for “extremely low-income” families at or below 60% of the area median income.

Edwards called the Mesa project an exciting opportunity to add variety to the affordable housing options in the region.

“Having stable and affordable housing benefits our families in Maricopa County by offering stability without taking such a large portion of their budget that they can’t afford other necessities,” Edwards said.

Coverage of housing insecurity on and in The Arizona Republic is supported by a grant from the Arizona Community Foundation.

Reach the reporter at or 480-694-1823. Follow her on Twitter @jboehm_NEWS.

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AUTHOR: Jessica Boehm

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