In Practice
HUD USER Home > PD&R Edge Home > In Practice
 

Bridging a Gap in Affordable Housing for Families in Phoenix

Exterior of two-story apartment buildings in Southwestern style facing sidewalks lined with young newly-planted trees.UMOM’s Parsons Village development provides 48 units of permanent supportive housing to low-income and chronically homeless families in Phoenix, Arizona. Credit: UMOM New Day Centers

Opened in spring 2016, Parsons Village adds 48 units of affordable, subsidized housing in Phoenix targeting chronically homeless families, a population whose housing needs had previously been largely unaddressed in Maricopa County. The developer, United Methodist Outreach Ministries (UMOM), is a longtime service provider for Phoenix’s homeless population and a member of the Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board. UMOM designed Parsons Village to fill a need for housing available to families requiring supportive services. The organization’s deep ties to the community and broad competencies played crucial roles in aggregating the resources required to implement this vision.

Housing for Families

Because Parson’s Village focuses on housing families, 30 of the 48 units have three bedrooms. In addition, the development has 6 two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom units. Parsons Village also includes a jungle gym and basketball court for children, and the adjacent Casa de Paz Sahuaro housing development — another UMOM affordable housing property — features a playground and a pool available to residents of both communities. Design elements foster a sense of home and community, and tenants enjoy access to nearby public transit, commercial services, and other amenities. Although general standards for supportive housing require a single point of entry for each building, each Parson’s Village unit has its own separate entry, contributing to a more welcoming and safe atmosphere for residents. At the heart of Parsons Village is a 5,000-square-foot community center that houses administrative functions, supportive services, and community life.

Because providing supportive services is costly, permanent supportive housing is considered as a last resort after less intensive interventions have failed. UMOM relies on a tiered approach to provide appropriate services for a tenant’s particular needs. A Resident Support Specialist offers case management; referrals for counseling, treatment, and recovery activities; assistance with accessing benefits; and other services. Tenant-based services, aimed at families that have more stable housing arrangements and less intensive needs, include afterschool homework assistance, a summer reading program, and a guest speaker series. Past topics have included budgeting, parenting, cooking demonstrations, résumé writing, and other life skills. Residents at the adjacent UMOM property also have access to programs at Parsons Village, enlarging the serviceable client base.

Financing Construction and Operations

Bringing Parsons Village to fruition required the coordination of a various funding sources to finance the construction and ongoing operations of the nearly $10.8 million project. The development received approximately $8.7 million in equity from the National Equity Fund in exchange for low-income housing tax credits allocated by the Arizona Department of Housing. In addition, the project received a $3 million grant from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation that not only supplied needed construction funding but also paid for furniture and other amenities for the development. In 2014, the Arizona Department of Housing creating a low-income housing tax credit set-aside to prioritize the creation of housing for chronically homeless individuals or families earning up to 30 percent of the area median income, with a preference for veterans, and UMOM used this set-aside to create Parsons Village.

All residents of Parsons Village receive rental subsidies; the development has income limits in 71 percent of units that are capped at 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), and the remaining units are capped at 40 to 60 percent of AMI. The City of Phoenix Housing Department has awarded project-based vouchers to support 20 of the units. UMOM’s in-house rental assistance program for families, which pays any portion of a participating family’s rent that exceeds 30 percent of its income, subsidizes the remaining units, ensuring that families are not rent burdened. This subsidy payment is made directly from the fund to UMOM. The fund itself is supported with charitable donations from the community, including part of the grant from the Parsons Foundation. Along with the project-based vouchers, UMOM’s family rental assistance can guarantee coverage to 100 percent of Parsons Village residents and ensure stability and sustainability for both residents and UMOM. UMOM directly provides all the onsite services. UMOM also provides most of the funding for these services through private donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations as well as from income generated by other UMOM affordable properties.

A basketball court nestled amongst two-story apartment buildings with colorful playground equipment in the foreground.Parsons Village includes playground equipment and a basketball court.

Continuing Need, Continuing Progress

The need for permanent supportive housing for families in Phoenix, which was significant before Parsons Village opened, remains high. In 2016, the year Parsons Village opened, the Point-in-Time survey of homelessness recorded 624 homeless families (representing 2,082 individuals) and 709 chronically homeless individuals in Maricopa County. Just before the development of Parsons Village, UMOM alone identified 53 disabled homeless families with significant barriers to housing in a single year, and the organization cited the county’s lack of permanent supportive housing as a justification for undertaking this project. Furthermore, not only is the supply of affordable housing insufficient in general, but there is also a severe shortage of units large enough to accommodate families — a fact that encouraged UMOM to ensure that most of Parsons Village’s units have three bedrooms. Building on its experience developing Parsons Village, UMOM is continuing to construct affordable housing in Phoenix, with a new service-enriched, 54-unit apartment complex currently in development.

Source:

Arizona Department of Housing and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application, North Mountain Village Apartments, Phoenix, AZ.”; City of Phoenix and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program PBV Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contract.”; United Methodist Outreach Ministries New Day Centers. n.d. “History – UMOM.” Accessed 5 April 2016; Maricopa Association of Governments. n.d. “Maricopa Regional Continuum of Care Board.” Accessed 5 April 2017.

×

Source:

Arizona Department of Housing and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application, North Mountain Village Apartments, Phoenix, AZ.”; City of Phoenix and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program PBV Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contract.”; Interview with Chela Schuster, director of strategic housing resources at United Methodist Outreach Ministries, 22 March 2018.

×

Source:

City of Phoenix and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program PBV Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contract.”; Arizona Department of Housing and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application, North Mountain Village Apartments, Phoenix, AZ.”

×

Source:

Arizona Department of Housing. 2013. “2013 Qualified Action Plan.” Accessed 5 April 2017; Arizona Department of Housing and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application, North Mountain Village Apartments, Phoenix, AZ.”; Interview with Brandy Hotchkiss, partner at Leavitt Consultants, 27 March 2018.

×

Source:

Arizona Department of Housing and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Low Income Housing Tax Credit Application, North Mountain Village Apartments, Phoenix, AZ.”; City of Phoenix Housing Department. 2016. “Annual PHA Plan (Standard PHAs and Troubled PHAs).” Accessed 5 April 2017; Interview with Brandy Hotchkiss, partner at Leavitt Consultants, 27 March 2018; City of Phoenix and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program PBV Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contract.”

×

Source:

City of Phoenix and UMOM Housing III, LLC. 2014. “Section 8 Project-Based Voucher Program PBV Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contract.”; Interview with Brandy Hotchkiss, partner at Leavitt Consultants, 27 March 2018; Maricopa County Continuum of Care. 2016. “Maricopa’s Road Home: Maricopa’s Regional Plan to End Homelessness — 2016/2017 Action Plan.” Accessed 5 April 2017; United Methodist Outreach Ministries New Day Centers. n.d. “New in north Phoenix: Homes with Impact.” Accessed 10 April 2017.

×
 
 
Published Date: 30 April 2018