The population of Tempe is much higher than both Summit County and Verde Valley, with 180,587 people living there according to the Census.
While Tempe does have a significant tourism industry like Lake Havasu City, it’s also home to large industries, including regional headquarters for businesses such as Chase, State Farm and GoDaddy. The city is also home to the main Arizona State University campus and the university is the town’s biggest employer.
A 2017 analysis by the city found that the housing stock in Tempe has an appropriate ratio of affordable (49.3), workforce (34.2) and market rate (16.5) housing for a city of its size. However, in anticipation of rapid community growth, the city is looking for ways to add more affordable and workforce housing to keep those ratios where they are at.
One strategy the city is trying is an initiative proposed by Mayor Corey Woods called Hometown for All. The initiative, approved on Jan. 14 by the town council, takes 50 percent of certain permit fees paid to the town and moves them from the Tempe General Fund to the Tempe Coalition for Affordable Housing which is affiliated with the city’s Housing Authority.
The funds that the coalition receives will be used to buy and rehabilitate properties or buy land and then look for developers or nonprofits willing to build workforce or attainable housing.
According to the press release announcing the Hometown for All initiative, this initiative is the first of its kind in Arizona.
“I want to see Tempe go above and beyond the successes we have already seen,” Woods said in the press release. “This is about helping people in need find housing here that they can afford.”
Funding from the initiative has already been used. In April the town council set aside $1.2 million for preliminary environmental and archaeological assessments of five lots of lands. Up to 325 apartments and 50 homes could be developed on the lots.