For the first time since 2012, Arizona’s Housing Trust fund, which helps low-income families with their housing needs, will receive new money to the tune of $10 million.
The fund receives money from the sales of unclaimed property belonging to the state, like buildings and safe-deposit boxes. But like many other dedicated funds operated by the state, the Housing Trust Fund was depleted during the Great Recession.
At its height, the fund had $40 million in 2007. If the new appropriation is approved, the fund will have approximately $12 million, the most it has had in a decade.
Since 2010, the fund has had a cap of $2.5 million put on it, a cap that advocates and lawmakers have been trying to change to no avail.
The $10 million deposit does come with a stipulation.
Of the deposited money, $3.5 million has to be spent on “constructing or renovating facilities and on housing assistance, including support services, for persons who have been determined to be seriously mentally ill and to be chronically resistant to treatment.”
During fiscal year 2018, the Arizona Department of Housing spent $68 million in rental subsidies for low income Arizonans and invested $46 million towards aiding the homeless. However, since 2011, homelessness has seen a nearly 50-percent increase, and Arizona ranks just about in the middle of the country when it comes to affordable housing.
The way the money is going to be used is similar to how a bill proposed by Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, would have allocated funds.
Allen’s bill would have taxed out-of-state real estate investors to get money for the Housing Trust Fund as well as the Seriously Mentally Ill Housing Trust fund.
Arizona’s Housing Trust Fund was created in 1988 to help low-income families with their housing needs and the Seriously Mentally Ill Housing Trust Fund was created in 2011.
Allen’s bill passed out of the Senate but has yet to receive a vote in the House.