Arizona’s economy has seen a significant recovery since the Great Recession, but its inventory of affordable housing continues to shrink statewide. Stable neighborhoods and affordable housing are the building blocks of a healthy community. We are all better off as a community when people are adequately housed.
The percentage of single family homes being built in 2017 was 71%, compared to 85% in 2006. This shift, along with the surge in investors purchasing existing family homes for rental purposes, has directly impacted the entry level housing market across the state and right here in Sedona and the Verde Valley. Many formerly affordable properties have been lost to redevelopment and are no longer available for lower to moderate income earners. The reality of this is in our community, and is particularly highlighted by our decreasing school enrollment. The Village of Oak Creek was once a vibrant family community but rising home prices and rents have forced families to move out.
Here at the Arizona Community Foundation, our staff meets with community leaders, nonprofits, businesses and residents to keep a pulse on the needs of our communities and to work with our donors to discuss the issue of affordable housing.
One way ACF is addressing the issue is through our Affordable Housing Loan Fund. ACF, in partnership with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, and with financial support from several community partners, established the ACF Affordable Housing Loan Fund to provide predevelopment funding for affordable housing projects across Arizona.
Unlike traditional charitable funds, this fund provides zero interest loans to nonprofit housing developers for the predevelopment phase of affordable housing projects. This type of financing is typically not available from traditional lenders. Once the project receives long-term lender financing, loans are repaid – making these dollars available for new projects.
The Affordable Housing Loan Fund supports a variety of types of housing for low-to moderate-income individuals and families, homeless Veterans, senior citizens, and disabled adults. Several of the supported projects buy and rehabilitate foreclosed properties and resell them to moderate-income buyers, often in partnership with local governments.
The Highland Square Senior Apartments located on West Mingus Avenue in Cottonwood is a local project supported by the ACF Affordable Housing Loan Fund. The apartment complex opened its doors in 2017 and has 60 units of affordable housing for seniors aged 62 or older. All 60 units have rental subsidies allowing residents to pay only 30% of their income towards rent and utilities. Seventy percent of the units service households at 50% Area Medium Income. Highland Square has partnered with Catholic Charities to provide on-site services such as monthly nutrition and financial literacy classes. Other services include transportation, recreation and wellness classes, blood pressure screening, on-site food pantry and referrals to other services in the area.
Gifts to the Affordable Housing Loan Fund have totaled $1.5 million and nearly $4.5 million has been loaned for 49 housing projects across Arizona. These projects created more than 2,900 units of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families, senior citizens, Veterans, and adults with illnesses and disabilities. The fund has leveraged an estimated $512.8 million in lender financing and have created more than 3,500 jobs.
Nonprofit community development corporations, qualified 501(c)(3) organizations or joint ventures where the nonprofit is a significant, active partner in the housing development project can apply for a loan of up to $75,000. Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to develop rental or home ownership units. Funds may be used for predevelopment expenses necessary to determine feasibility of a planned affordable housing project and to prepare applications for development funding.
If you are interested in learning more about the fund or contributing to the fund, contact Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona at 928.399.7218.
The high cost of a college education deters many students from even dreaming about going on to school after high school. In fact, 63% of graduating high school students in the Verde Valley do not go on to a four year school after graduation. For many students the thought of getting a scholarship is as likely as winning the lottery, so many do not even apply.
Today I am going to share with you some exciting news. There are many, many generous individuals and organizations who want our local students both young and old to succeed and they have scholarships to help you do it.
The Arizona Community Foundation connects donors with causes they care about. One of the most popular forms of charitable giving is scholarships. The Arizona Community Foundation is the largest private provider of scholarships in the state of Arizona. We offer over 200 scholarships and award over $2.5 million a year to worthy students. Applying is very easy. We have one simple online application that matches students with all scholarships they are eligible for. This eliminates the overwhelming process of sifting through enormous scholarship databases searching for opportunities you qualify for. The application process opened on January 1 and will run through May. Each scholarship in our system has different deadlines so it is recommended to apply early so that you can qualify for more opportunities. The two most popular deadlines are March 15 and May 15. Access the application here.
In response to the need for higher qualified workers combined with the statistics about local students not going on to four year schools, the ACF of Sedona Board of Advisors started the Pathway to Career Sedona/Verde Valley Career and Technical Education Scholarship Fund. This scholarship is open to students of all ages seeking a certificate or associates degree for career and technical education. Applicants need a minimum of a 2.5 GPA in high school and awards range from $2,000 to $6,000 and can be renewable.
Applicants can attend any accredited educational institution they choose. Locally, Yavapai College has an extensive Career and Technical Education department. Opportunities include programs in culinary arts, construction and building technology, computer networking and cyber security, automotive, advanced manufacturing, aviation, welding, animal welfare, and commercial driving. Click here for a full list of programs.
Last year four scholarships were awarded from the ACF of Sedona Pathways Scholarship Fund and thanks to many local donors, the fund has increased and we anticipate awarding ten scholarships this year. If you are interested in contributing to the Pathways Scholarship Fund, click here or call Jennifer Perry at 928.399.7218.
Applying for scholarships takes time and work, but the rewards can be tremendous. It is never too late to go back to school and learn a new skill or trade. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about how to apply to ACF for Scholarships or how to establish your own scholarship fund with ACF.
ACF of Sedona celebrates local philanthropists and nonprofit organizations
The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona celebrated the 19th annual Spirit of Sedona event on Thursday, September 5 at Enchantment Resort. Approximately 200 community members gathered to honor the 2019 nonprofit grant recipients and philanthropic leaders in the community.
With the support of its Board of Advisors and volunteer grant review panelists, ACF of Sedona awarded over $160,000 in grants this year to 47 nonprofits serving Sedona and the Verde Valley. Funded projects address various community needs in the areas of the environment, animal welfare, arts and culture, community improvement, diversity education, social justice, and healthcare. The nonprofit organizations that received grants were honored during the event for their dedication and the impact they make in the community.
Six individuals and organizations received awards for their exemplary leadership and commitment to improving Sedona and the Verde Valley:
“The Spirit of Sedona is a unique event that celebrates both philanthropy and community,” said Jennifer Perry, Regional Director of ACF of Sedona. “We are fortunate to have many generous and talented individuals in our community who give their time and charitable dollars to make Sedona and the Verde Valley a better place to live. The Spirit of Sedona provides an opportunity to pause and recognize all the good work that is being accomplished in our community.”
The event was made possible through the generosity of local sponsors including presenting sponsor BMO Harris Bank. Other sponsors included Eye Boutique of Sedona, Edward Jones, Kincaid Financial Advisors, Yavapai College, Accord Hospice, and Morris Trust. In-kind sponsors included the Enchantment Resort, Larry Kane Photography, Sedona Media Services, PSAV, and Red Rock Magic Trolley.
The Centennial Center of Prescott, 1989 Wineglass Dr., Prescott
Yavapai County Professional Advisors
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