Affordable Housing For Who?

Deborah Jenkins


     We heard from Alan Stephenson the planning department for the city of Phoenix on what the city plans to do to South Phoenix in order to make it a better and more beautiful place to live. The plans involve building large subdivisions with “affordable” homes and bringing in new businesses so that the newly named “South Mountain Village” can grow and become a more prosperous and better place to live.

     Mr. Stephenson answered our questions and showed us wonderful colored maps and brochures and explained the new zoning that was being done to bring up the quality of living in the old South Phoenix. He did dance around questions about what this could do to the taxes that the existing residents would have to pay. When I interviewed a resident that has lived in his house just north of Dobbins on seventh place, he told us that in just the last year alone his property taxes have doubled since the new transformation and subdivision building began in South Phoenix.

Mr. Stephenson never did clarify what “affordable” was and for whom it would be affordable. I question whether the persons who live in the old neighborhoods and whose income is based on the lower paying jobs in South Phoenix could actually afford these “affordable” houses.

     When visiting a new subdivision on 10th street and Dobbins the price range on these “Affordable” homes ranged from $146,240 (1302 sq. ft.) to $248,490 (3941 sq. ft.) I am not sure how many of the existing residents of South Phoenix can afford these prices. Where will they live when they have to move because the property has been sold to developers? How will the poor who exist in the old South Phoenix afford to live in the new “South Mountain Village”? Or is that the whole idea?

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