A low-income housing development in Mesa will move forward with its second phase after receiving approval for funding last week.
Escobedo at Verde Vista, being developed by Save the Family and Gorman & Co., is one of seven projects approved by the Arizona Department of Housing for federal tax-credit financing. Projects are approved once a year in the competitive process. The first phase received the tax credit allocation last year.
More projects received funding last year — 18 in all — to help stimulate job growth in the state, said Daniel Romm, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Housing. That was the most in the 26 years of the federal program.
Construction at Escobedo at Verde Vista began late last year at 125 E. University Drive. The first phase includes 70 low to moderate income, energy-efficient rental units.
The Escobedo neighborhood was first built in the 1940s for pilots training in Mesa during World War II. It was later converted segregated public housing for low-income families in the Washington Park area.
The city decided to take a different direction with the neighborhood, closing the bungalow buildings about six years ago. Save the Family initiated the new project in 2011.
While phase one includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units, the second phase will focus on 62 units for bigger families and families with lower incomes, said Jacki Taylor, CEO of Save the Family.
Families must have income at least 60 percent below the area median income to qualify. In phase one, income cannot be lower than 40 percent of area median income. But Taylor said that will go down to 30 percent in phase two.
“Phase two is affording us the opportunity to target some of those poorest of the poor families who are having difficulty attaining market rate housing,” Taylor said. “When you get down to 30 percent or below of AMI, that’s income of maybe $10,000 to $15,000 on average for a family of four. It’s virtually impossible to find market rate housing at that rate and sustain it.”
Save the Family will provide support services for families that live in the development, including parenting classes, financial literacy and career development. A few units will also be part of Hope Village to provide housing for foster families and seniors who want to be “adopted” grandparents.
There will also be a children’s center, computer lab and workout room on site.
“The low-income housing product is truly A-plus construction. It’s very high quality construction, but then we’re able — because of the low-income housing tax credit subsidy — we’re able to rent them at affordable rates to families struggling to make ends meet,” Taylor said.
The first families are expected to start moving in later this fall.
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