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Affordable housing projects in Arizona are getting rejected due to neighbors’ backlash

 Affordable housing projects in Arizona are getting rejected due to neighbors’ backlash

Apartments on Street

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — There is construction going on across the Phoenix metro area, with several apartment complexes being built. But it’s not nearly enough to address the affordable housing crisis across the Valley. Tom Simplot is the director of Arizona’s Department of Housing. He’s placing some of the blame for the housing shortage on city governments that keep rejecting proposals for new multi-housing units.

“You can’t say you are for affordable housing and additional housing, and simply vote ‘no’ on any development that comes before you,” said Simplot. “That’s not acceptable. That’s not realistic and that’s what is happening.” More than two dozen apartment developments were rejected or delayed last year because of backlash from neighbors, which is sometimes referred to as “not in my backyard” syndrome. But Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega thinks it’s unfair to blame city leaders for the affordable housing crunch.

He said the projects they’ve rejected were not good fits for the city, and they’re working hard to bring in the right developments. “They’re just mega blocks of glob that really does not fit Scottsdale’s character, and we know that,” said Ortega. “I believe we are going to be looking at some true affordable housing, and not get lost in this ploy that everything has to be approved.”

Arizona currently needs about 270,000 housing units to meet the demand of local communities, according to the Arizona Dept. of Housing. Last year, California passed a law that forces cities to create a certain amount of housing or risk losing state funding.

Real estate developer Michael Lieb is hoping Arizona can avoid similar mandates, but if city leaders don’t find a way to green light more projects, they may not have a choice. “If that’s not a wake-up call for your mayors and councils,” said Lieb. “If you don’t understand you need to promote housing and show political leadership and courage to support good projects, it’s going to be forced upon you.”


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