If you are a news junky and read as much as I do, very often within the span of a day or two, you will read stories that give contradicting data and analysis about political, social, health or financial issues. When confronted with completely diametrical information, you sometimes realize that both may contain some truth. Yet some matters truly cannot be understood without looking at all sides, and such unbiased analysis seems to be harder and harder to come by these days.
Some months ago, the irony of two potentially true but very different housing market headlines had me thinking about this dilemma. In this case, one – that senior housing wealth had reached a record high of $7.17 trillion, against – two, warnings of a sweeping silver tsunami, with lines of homeless seniors vying for the last bed at the nearest shelter. Yet the singular housing story that applies to the majority of Arizonans, a story never written, is that most of us will live a lifetime gaining very modest equity through real estate and, thankfully, never experience an issue with housing. As a result, talk of a housing “crisis” does not always resonate with the general public.
Nevertheless, those who care passionately about housing affordability and housing the homeless will always be advocating for more resources to carry out the work they are engaged in to address these important issues.
We know sometimes our constituents wonder why we are not actively engaged in lobbying for more resources, but such is not our role. The role of a State agency is outlined in law and its resources are determined by elected officials. While housing advocates would have you believe that this State housing department doesn’t have much in the way of resources, this is not the case. During our last fiscal year, the Department committed more than $417 million in housing and community development resources, touching the lives of nearly 180,000 Arizonans. The Department takes its fiscal responsibility seriously and works diligently to invest the resources entrusted to the Department as efficiently as possible.
We also know that all things considered, private investment is key to unlocking the doors to widespread housing affordability for all. This is why we were so encouraged to see two fantastic non-public housing endeavors emerge in the past year in Arizona. Both Home Matters Arizona and the Arizona Housing Fund are private sector led efforts that will result in private investments into innovative and affordable housing in our communities. Together these two new funds are set to invest millions into Arizona’s housing market over the next decade. Hats off to Joe Gaudio, from United Healthcare, and Howard Epstein, from Bank of America, for leading these efforts.
Because housing is a market driven industry as it should be, we need more private efforts of this sort. Government cannot and should not address every issue that effects the housing market. To the degree that we have resources and opportunities, we should maximize those resources and opportunities to the best of our abilities.
If you are reading this, chances are you are actively involved in this space. We thank you for your passion, interest, and look forward to continuing to actively work toward the same goals to make Arizona the best place to live, work, and do business.
Housing Matters | Winter 2021