Arizona Department of Housing looks at concerns over the lack of affordable housing in the State
Aug. 18, 2021
The Arizona Department of Housing is conducting its annual Arizona housing forum to look at, among other things, the increasing concerns over the lack of affordable housing in the State and how that issue plays into homelessness. Tom Simplot is the Director of the State Housing Department.
Within the housing forum, “we have three tracks and for the very first time in the history of the housing forum we have added a homeless track so that there can be a good exchange of best practices and good ideas, and we’re very excited about that and it’s virtual. So we have folks joining us from around the state, we have 100 people joining us from around the state. In addition to the people who will be with us down in Tucson,” Simplot said.
When it comes to homelessness, there’s no ‘one’ best practice. There’s a range of things a homeless person may need, “that’s what we’re looking at are the spectrum of homelessness, and we have presenters from the cities, the counties, private organizations. So, we actually can look at how to offer different services depending upon what the needs are,” Simplot said.
Affordable housing is decreasing in the State as more people decide to move here. Simplot said that, “the best way to rehouse somebody is to ensure that they’ve never lost their housing.”
“Depending upon which study you’re looking at…we’re short about 150,000 apartment units throughout the state. We have a supply and demand issue and we need to open back up that pipeline and build more affordable housing. And luckily, we’re at a very special time right now because we know what the issues are, we’ve brought all of the stakeholders together, much more than I think historically ever have, and we have funding in order to do something,” Simplot said.