Arizona Daily Sun
Home Matters has awarded a total of $1.5 million to projects in Phoenix , Glendale and Flagstaff .
The fund has planned to finance $100 million in Arizona attainable housing projects over the next two years, meant to address the issue of affordability in the state as well as housing justice for underrepresented communities.
It plans to invest in projects serving individuals and families with low and moderate income, those who are veterans, seniors, unsheltered, have disabilities, are involved in the justice system or are eligible for support through the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS).
" The Home Matters Arizona Fund is thrilled to fund these projects which will advance housing options for families, individuals experiencing homelessness, seniors and those who are medically vulnerable," said James Stringham , vice president and CEO of Banner Health Plan and outgoing Home Matters Arizona Fund Chair. " Arizona's healthcare leaders understand that housing is good healthcare and that it saves lives and the state money."
The fund has recently secured $2.25 million from the Arizona Department of Housing to house victims of domestic violence, those experiencing homelessness and transitional individuals and families.
In northern Arizona , Flagstaff Shelter Services (FSS) was recently awarded $500,000 for its work with The Crown hotel in Flagstaff .
Construction on the 58-unit development will begin in two months, according to the announcement, and will cost a total of $6.44 million . FSS purchased the Howard Johnson Motel on Route 66 in March using funding from the Arizona Department of Housing and is renovating it to provide transitional housing to seniors, the medically vulnerable and families in Flagstaff .
The hotel was functional and fully furnished when FSS bought it in April, executive director Ross Schaefer said, so they were able to move in residents within a week of the purchase.
This grant will fund some capital improvements "to be able to bring the building into its most useful state and into the code of safety requirements that we want to get it to," she said.
Some efforts Schaefer mentioned include increased ADA on the site, upgrades to the sprinkler system, filling in the pool to create a community area and adding kitchenettes to the rooms.
"Those are phases down the road," she said, "but the Home Matters grant will help us get there."
The Crown functions as an emergency shelter, mainly for those who are immunocompromised, senior citizens and families.
It is completely full at the moment, Schaefer said, and the adjoining rooms and different bed sizes allow FSS to accommodate large families.
Schaefer said the project has been "amazing" so far.
"It really is such a special place," she said. " ... I've been doing this work for a long time and I can tell you, consistently seeing people just generally at peace is not something that I would say I have the opportunity to see too often. We deal with folks who are in significant crisis [and] to see the sheer number of people over there that are getting to experience what home feels like again is just remarkable.
"It's definitely enough to make you want to keep doing it and just make new opportunities for people to be able to have the same peace."
Previous projects in Flagstaff that received grants from the Home Matters Arizona Fund include the Sharon Manor transitional housing for domestic violence survivors and JoJo's Place motel renovation to provide transitional housing for those experiencing homelessness, both through Northern Arizona Housing Solutions.