How the Housing Crisis is Affecting Arizonans

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Tom Simplot, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, will discuss the housing crisis facing the new Governor and the many solutions that need to be put on the table. He will look at how we got here and how we can get out of this crisis.

The Department estimates a need for around 270,000 housing units RIGHT NOW just to meet the current demand for housing. There is a new Housing Supply Committee established in the last legislative session that meets regularly around the state to figure out ways to work with mayors and city councils to change city zoning laws to allow for more affordable housing development.

Is this a crisis?

“Absolutely, not only in Arizona but across the country,” said Simplot.

What are we seeing in Arizona?

“There is more demand than there is units available. We have to look back decades ago when in 1980’s and 90’s, Arizona faced an anti-growth movement. When you think back to what the state legislature did back in the 90’s, they created general plans, they created a path for more neighborhood involvement,” said Simplot.

The purpose was to try to slow down the pace of development, “We succeeded in slowing down the pace of development, so what we face today is huge job growth under Governor Ducy, but not enough housing to keep up with the pace,” he said.

Could it have been foreseen that people would come to Arizona?

“It should’ve been foreseen, perhaps not to this extent. Let’s admit that the great recession impacted the model as well; we had such a surplus of housing at one point. We ate that up in a few years, and we just never caught up,” said Simplot.

Is inflation a factor?

“It’s the law of supply and demand, there just simply aren’t enough apartments out there to rent,” he said.

“The answer isn’t controlling rent, it’s building more apartments,” said Simplot.

Tom Simplot, director of the Arizona Department of Housing

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