Katie Hobbs' Plan for

Arizona is Home

Introduction

MAKING HOUSING MORE AFFORDABLE AND ENDING THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

From the Desk of Katie Hobbs

Dear Arizonans,

As inflation continues to raise the price of everything from gas to groceries to medicines, one thing in particular has a disproportionate impact on our state’s rising costs: housing.

Access to affordable housing is essential for building long-term prosperity, our workforce, and building strong families to ensure our kids receive a quality education. Today, the American Dream of home ownership is slipping further and further out of reach for too many. Arizona’s homelessness crisis has become a repudiation of our state’s public policies. Since 2014, the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased by nearly 500%. My first job after I got my degree in social work was working with homeless youth in Phoenix. So I understand how complex this problem is.

Whether it’s the rising cost of rent or homeownership, the lack of affordable housing, or the homelessness crisis, our leaders must tackle this challenge in a methodical, forward-looking, and compassionate manner. That’s why I’m releasing my plan to address these crucial issues. As governor, I will bring community leaders, housing advocates, local governments, and our legislature together to:

  • Empower local communities to build more affordable housing
  • Cut needless bureaucracy and unleash American innovation
  • Protect Arizonans and address core reasons for rising housing costs
  • Fix the homelessness crisis in a comprehensive manner
  • Lower costs for renters and homeowners

Arizona should be the best place to live, work, and raise a family. But the only way we can achieve that goal is by working together. I have a strong track record of reaching across the aisle and getting things done. As a leader in the legislature, I worked with Republican governors to expand access to healthcare for more than 500,000 Arizonans, tackle the opioid crisis, and hold criminals accountable by working to clear the rape kit backlog. As Secretary of State, I modernized the office, fixed broken systems, battled misinformation, and navigated a once-in-a-century crisis. As governor, I’ll bring the same leadership and experience to tackling our housing crisis. I know we can get this done — together.

– Secretary Katie Hobbs


EMPOWERING LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO BUILD MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING


Giving Municipalities The Flexibility To Determine What Programs Make The Most Sense For Them.

• A “one-size-fits-all” mandate that treats all communities the same doesn’t make sense. Municipalities must be able to craft incentives that make the most sense based on their unique needs. That’s why Katie will work with the legislature to help local governments expand access to low-interest financing for housing developments. This will also include incentivizing local communities to provide land for affordable and workforce housing for low-income persons and families. Katie will work to expand existing down payment assistance programs and bonds to help fund innovations in housing construction and development.


Making The Pilot Program For Construction Of New Affordable Housing Permanent.

• In 2021, Republicans and Democrats came together in the legislature to establish an affordable housing tax-credit pilot program, which requires developers to include affordable housing in their development plans in order to qualify for the credit. This state investment can magnify private funding of affordable housing projects. Katie will permanently extend the program and expand the state’s investment to expedite construction of these homes. She will also work with the state and local Industrial Development Authorities to expand tax-exempt bonds dedicated to building affordable housing units.


Encouraging Zoning Changes To Facilitate Building More Affordable Housing.

• Katie will encourage cities and towns to implement locally tailored zoning changes that can lead to options like financial incentives being used as tools to build more affordable housing. Examples of zoning changes that lead to more housing inventory include: building an additional dwelling unit, an accessory unit or a single-room occupancy unit on a residential lot; allowing higher density zoning that can accommodate more development of moderate-income housing; permitting higher density residential projects in or near commercial and mixed-use zones, major transit investment corridors, or employment centers; reducing restrictive requirements for affordable housing projects, such as minimum parking spaces, minimum unit sizes, or common area requirements; and providing zoning and financial incentives to developers who dedicate a certain percentage of units to market or below market rate housing.


GETTING RID OF NEEDLESS BUREAUCRACY AND UNLEASHING AMERICAN INNOVATION


Cut Red Tape And Streamline Services For Arizonans In Need.

• As a social worker, Katie saw firsthand how government bureaucracy can stand in the way of getting families the help they need. Families often navigate a cumbersome and confusing path for assistance through several state agencies to receive critical assistance, including the Department of Economic Security, Department of Child Safety, and AHCCCS. That’s why Katie will combine life-changing services under fewer agencies to make government more efficient for families and put them on a path to economic security. This streamlining can also help each agency focus on maximizing state tax dollars, which is possible by working with lawmakers to receive additional federal dollars that can help provide even more robust services to Arizonans.


Address Address Neglect Of Critical Systems.

Both the Child Welfare System and the Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities have been neglected for years. This has led to dangerous situations for children, and confusing or punitive regulations that make accessing services difficult. It has also left millions of dollars of federal funds on the table that could be used to alleviate challenges for families, as is the case of Arizona’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, Kids Care. The program could have access to $47 million in federal funding if the state one would make a small investment in expanding the program. That’s why Katie will work with the legislature, agencies, stakeholders, and impacted individuals and families to provide solutions that will address the critical needs in these systems. 


Addressing The Housing Crisis Through Innovation.

• As governor, Katie will champion pilot programs for innovations in housing to more quickly address housing insecurity. Examples include building on Tempe Mayor Woods’ Hometown for All program and Mayor Weiers’ Glendale Works program, expanding community land trusts to help Arizonans purchase affordable housing, constructing accessory dwelling units, and even taking advantage of advanced manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing homes, which is a practice adopted by Habitat for Humanity.


PROTECTING ARIZONANS


Protecting Arizonans Who Are At Risk of Eviction.

Arizona is home to three of the 10 cities in America where rent has increased the most. For too many families, rising rents, coupled with a speedy eviction process, have proved to be disastrous. Even worse, our leaders’ lack of concern and failure to put everyday Arizona families first has left us without solutions. We know that evictions can have a domino effect in the economy that harms everyone. That’s why Katie will work to reform Arizona’s lack of eviction protections for hard-working families, including starting a pilot program to provide low- and middle-income Arizonans with legal aid during the eviction process. This has been shown to reduce eviction rates and extend the amount of time necessary between a late payment and the start of the eviction process, which is only five days in Arizona. 


Providing Greater Regulatory Oversight Of Short-Term Rentals To Prevent Further Price Increases.

• Many Arizonans are able to earn extra income by renting their homes or renting out a second home, which in turn helps support the tourism sector of our economy. Unfortunately, the short-term rental space has been seized upon by large institutional investors who do not have our local interests in mind, drive prices up, and play a contributing role in the housing crisis we face. Katie will champion legislation that allows a return to regulatory oversight and control to cities and towns, creating the flexibility for each community to decide for themselves how to best regulate these rentals.


Creating An Economic Climate That Incentivizes The Purchase of Housing Inventory by Arizona Families Over Investors Who Are Driving Up Market Prices for All Arizonans.

Recent reports have shown that corporate investors and foreign buyers are buying up houses and properties across Arizona, contributing to skyrocketing market prices for Arizona buyers and renters alike. Last December, one in five Phoenix homes were purchased by big investors. These companies are out-spending everyday Arizonans in the purchasing process by paying cash for these homes, which gives them the upper hand in increasingly frenetic bidding wars. Oftentimes these homes are flipped with the intent of making profits off  higher-than-usual rental prices. Currently, residents are an afterthought and are displaced without any intervention or support from government or developers. As Governor, Katie will work with local municipalities and developers to come up with solutions, such as providing a tax credit to sellers who sell to an owner-occupied home.


ADDRESSING THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS IN A COMPREHENSIVE MANNER


Investing In The Housing Trust Fund To Combat The Homelessness Crisis.

• Katie supports a long overdue investment of $200 million into the Housing Trust Fund to provide housing security and address the homelessness crisis in her first year, with additional substantial investment in the Trust Fund after that, and target additional resources to support case management and outreach services. The Housing Trust Fund provides critical resources to support homeownership, prevent evictions, and keep people experiencing homelessness off the streets with emergency shelters and transitional housing.  Unfortunately, the legislature has fallen far short of what is needed to fully address the crisis. With this expanded funding, Arizona can help rehabilitate the lives of so many who have fallen on hard times.


Building New Stable Housing For Our Veterans, Who Have Given So Much For Our Country.

• In 2021, Arizona was a top 10 state for veterans’ homelessness. In Arizona, one of the most populous states for veterans, we must do more to honor their sacrifice and reduce veteran homelessness. That’s why as Governor, Katie will invest in home- and community-based solutions to help keep veterans in their homes and communities, while at the same time dedicating new funding to expand and build State Veterans Homes, to give veterans options for more stable and long-term housing.


Reconvening The Interagency Council On Housing And Homelessness.

• So many of the solutions to address the housing crisis and issues surrounding homelessness are local issues, but local councils of government and jurisdictions have largely been left on their own to address these issues over the last decade or so. As Governor, Katie will prioritize reconvening the Interagency Council on Housing and Homelessness. The Council will be utilized to coordinate local efforts, collaborate on innovative strategies, and focus resources on expediting solutions to tackle housing insecurity and homelessness.


Investing In Community Courts To Encourage Rehabilitation.

• Too often, those experiencing homelessness have outstanding fines or fees that they are unable to pay due to a lack of income. Community Courts, a concept already being used in parts of Arizona, provides a chance to resolve legal issues through voluntary court agreements to satisfy fines and fees in exchange for treatment and resources to help people obtain education and benefits that lead to a stable and productive lifestyle. Katie will identify new resources and funding that can be directed to these critical courts.


LOWERING COSTS FOR RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS


Providing Financial Relief For Families Facing Skyrocketing Energy Costs.

• Katie will create a rebate program to provide vital support for families at risk of being unable to pay utility bills. By working with utility companies to create a low-income rebate program for Arizonans at or below 150% of the federal poverty line, we can ensure those who are most at risk of being unable to afford high electricity bills are able to take care of themselves and their families.


Creating Incentives For Affordable, Energy Efficient Home Improvements.

• Katie will champion programs that incentivize affordable, energy efficient home improvements, such as tax credits with a maximum benefit of $200 per year. She will work to partner with local businesses to provide low-interest financing for lower and middle income Arizonans using the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority.


Making It Easier For Arizona Seniors To Stay Safely In Their Homes.

• Aging in place can greatly improve quality of life for seniors, but we must ensure they can do so safely at home. Katie will ensure that seniors receive the support they need by funding a home repair and safety assistance program, which would help lower-income seniors make repairs or accommodations to their homes. This includes important plumbing repairs, safety products, and retrofitting entrances for accessibility.

 


CONCLUSION

This plan is an ambitious, but necessary, pathway to finally tackle the housing crisis that has plagued our state for too long. Arizonans from all corners of the state understand the urgency of tackling this issue. As a candidate for governor, Katie has consistently brought forth ideas to make life more affordable, protect and empower Arizona consumers, and make government more inclusive. This is one more way that a Hobbs administration will ensure every Arizonan has the opportunity to succeed.

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