A new home in Villa Esperanza        An ariel view of new homes built         The Foothills (the city housing
                                                                     in South Phoenix                                    projects)

Affordable Housing in South Phoenix

Americus, Georgia may be the answer to a problem that the Valley of the Sun has struggled with for decades.  This city has set the standard for nearly, if not completely, eliminating poverty housing.  Through the dedicated efforts of Millard and Linda Fuller, an organization was set up to assist those in substandard housing. From its humble beginnings in 1976, Habitat for Humanity has grown from a local to a national and even global program.  Through a network of family and community partnerships, affordable housing is provided to low-income families who otherwise would not be able to own their own home.

            In conjunction with that organization there are numerous other organizations set up to meet the ever growing demand for affordable housing. The City of Phoenix Housing Department, headed by Manuel Gonzalez, provides a variety of programs to make available housing at a low cost. Some of these programs include leasing city owned public housing, or Section 8 housing in which the housing is owned and maintained by a private landlord. In this case the homeowner pays only 30% of his/her income and the remainder is paid by the section 8 program. Programs such as these are helping to wipe out the problem of substandard housing in Phoenix.  

            It was my opportunity to participate in providing affordable housing for one Phoenix family today,  As part of a class project we were to volunteer with Habitat building a home in the new community, Villas Esperanza (Village of Hope).  I must admit that in the beginning my enthusiasm for the project was lacking.  However, as the day progressed I found myself so caught up in the work (hanging dry wall) that I did not want to take a break, or leave for that matter. There was a certain joy I felt in knowing that I was working to ease someone elseís burdens.  In a world that is so self-centered, Habitat is a great opportunity to break away from those shallow habits and care about someone else for a change.

I believe that when you place yourself in a position where you are serving those around you, whether itís your family or community, the person who benefits most is YOU! So also is my experience today. Aiding a family in their dreams to own a new home brought me a joy.  However, I feel like I have gained more because I now have a deeper appreciation for what I do have and an increased awareness of others, not to mention more drill skills! It is my experience that this organization is not only changing the lives of those it serves, but it is also changing the lives of those who are willing to serve! 

by KaMaili Jones  


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