The Verde Valley is located in Central Arizona mostly in Yavapai County, though parts of the valley stretch north into Coconino County. There are nearly 70,000 people living across the Verde Valley towns of Camp Verde, Cottonwood, Jerome and Sedona.
Just like in Lake Havasu City, one of the largest industries in Verde Valley is tourism with 3 million people a year coming to Sedona alone, according to the town’s chamber of commerce. Other industries are also starting to flourish, such as the wine industry and craft brewing.
According to a report from the real estate consulting company Elliot D. Pollack and Company, there are 33,326 housing units in the Verde Valley and only 1,425 of those units are apartments which is not inclusive for the workforce.
Unlike some other communities dealing with workforce housing issues, executive director at the Verde Valley Regional Economic Organization, Mary Chicoine, says that all of the Valley’s entities are coming together to tackle the lack of diverse housing.
The two communities that are taking the lead on the issue, Chicoine says, are Sedona and Cottonwood.
The towns have come together to jointly fund a housing manager position, which serves both communities but technically is an employee of the City of Sedona.
Another project that the Sedona City Council voted to approve in July is a partnership with developer Sunset Loft to develop an apartment project with 20 one-bedroom apartments and 26 two-bedroom apartments. The project will be deed restricted, limiting rent and utilities to 30 percent of gross income of the tenants living there. Fourteen of the units will be dedicated to renters who make 80 percent of the average median income in Sedona, 16 units will be for those that make 90 percent of the average medium income and the remaining 16 units are for workers who make 100 percent of the average median income.
Finally, Sedona is currently discussing a plan with Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona to create a down payment and closing cost assistance program to help both employees of the city and employees in the Verde Valley. The City Council has already set aside 400,000 for the program in their 2022 budget.