ICYMI - Mesa Mayor John Giles: City and State Leaders Can Tackle Affordable Housing Crisis Together

~ Mesa Mayor John Giles has called for a holistic approach to tackle the affordable housing crisis in Arizona. He believes that state leaders should work with cities to provide funding, create pragmatic policies and increase tax credits and vouchers.

Giles noted that Maricopa County is the fastest-growing county in the United States, which has put a strain on development and caused an affordability crisis. He warned against using this issue as an excuse to take away local control of zoning, as it did not cause the crisis and will not fix it.

In response to these challenges, Mesa has distributed more than $60 million in emergency rent and utility assistance to help stabilize over 9,500 households during the pandemic. The city has also removed barriers to new developments, approving more than 5,600 multifamily units since 2020 and having an additional 4,250 in planning or under construction.

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Mesa is also tackling homelessness through programs such as Off the Streets and Community Court. These programs are helping residents navigate to support systems and stable housing. Giles believes that local leaders understand the unique challenges facing their residents better than state legislators do, so they should be empowered to employ their best solutions on the local level.

Giles noted that there are 190,000 housing units approved by cities and towns but not yet built in Maricopa and Pinal counties. To increase housing availability, developers need to deliver on their approved plans. He believes that increasing the backlog of authorized units by eliminating local zoning authority ignores those who are already housed but struggling financially or cannot afford new market-rate housing.

To address this issue further, Mesa is creating new partnerships for Affordable Housing, expanding emergency housing and purchasing a hotel for long-term stability for its Off the Streets program. Giles encourages legislators to partner with local community leaders before it's too late.

Filed Under: Government, City

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