PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s housing crisis is the focus of new bipartisan legislation announced Wednesday that aims to increase the supply of low income units and set aside $89 million to combat homelessness.
State Representatives Steve Kaiser, a Republican, and César Chávez, a Democrat, said their proposed law would improve housing availability and affordability across Arizona.
The Phoenix-based lawmakers said their measure would address the state’s housing shortfall and rising housing costs that have become burdensome for many Arizona residents.
“We need a statewide response to this crisis,” said Kaiser, the lead sponsor. “The demand for housing has never been higher. Occupancy rates are at 98%, which is a 40-year high.”
“For every one rental home in metro Phoenix there are 20 people applying,” he added.
Kaiser said it is estimated that 270,000 additional housing units need to be constructed in Arizona to keep up with demand. He said the legislation would help clear the way for faster building by eliminating onerous zoning and permit requirements imposed by local jurisdictions.
The bill would also allocate $89 million from Arizona’s state general fund in fiscal year 2022-2023 to the Housing Trust Fund to create more housing for the state’s growing homeless population.