By Susie Steckner
Eighteen families have a new place to call home with completion of the unique Tempe Parkview Townhome community, a partnership between the city of Tempe and Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona designed to increase affordable housing options in the city.
On the heels of that successful development, Tempe and Habitat are set to collaborate on another 16 homes in the city, building on a partnership that stretches more than three decades. Construction on the first homes is expected to begin in September.
“The Mayor and City Council, along with our residents and our entire community, are committed to expanding affordable and workforce housing across our city,” said Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby. “We will look to every tool in the toolbox using Affordable Housing Impact Statements, an Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and incentivizing developers to build out this vision for quality housing and healthy communities.”
The Tempe Parkview Townhome community, at 1937 E. Don Carlos Ave., is the first of its kind for the nonprofit Habitat for Humanity.
The city of Tempe purchased the property near McClintock and University drives using federal Community Development Block Grant funds to create more affordable housing. The city later partnered with Habitat to create a new kind of community that maximized the one-acre lot with modern three-story townhomes.
The community came together through the work of roughly 7,400 volunteers and the sweat equity of the 18 families purchasing the townhomes. It is the embodiment of Habitat’s mission to bring together people to build homes, communities and hope.
“For these home buyers this is a beginning. This is about their future,” said Jason Barlow, president and chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona. “Think about the homework that will be done in these homes. Think about home cooked meals that will be served in these homes. The lives changed because of a place called home.”
“At Habitat, we firmly believe nothing activates a space better than three bedrooms and two baths,” Barlow said.
Journey to homeownership
The Parkview community is as unique as it is diverse, with families from as near as Mesa and far away as Iraq and Venezuela. There are moms, dads and kids of all ages. The residents are all on different paths: students, managers, drivers, caregivers, office workers, stay-at-home moms. The common thread is homeownership and hope for a better future.
For new resident Mohamed Mohamed, homeownership would have been out of reach in his native Sudan. Now a citizen here, the 29-year-old who works in the private security field is thrilled to be out of his studio apartment and into a home where he can build a new life and prepare for a family when the time comes.
“Life (in Sudan) is way harder and tougher. Not many people can imagine a home there. But having a home is a blessed experience,” he said. “This is a dream for all of us to see the homes and neighborhood finally finished.”
Hope for the future
Over the next couple of years, more families will become homebuyers as the city and Habitat move ahead with 16 new homes. They will be built on four lots purchased by the city with CDBG funds for affordable housing, near Roosevelt Street and Southern Avenue, Victory Drive and Evergreen Road, Don Carlos Avenue and McClintock Drive, and 19th and McKemy streets.
Tempe is focused on providing a range of affordable housing options through government programs and partnerships with private developers and nonprofit organizations like Habitat.
“Habitat for Humanity Central Arizona is the ideal city partner,” Kuby said.
“Their mission is to realize the dream of home ownership for our families, to harness volunteers and local businesses to craft energy efficient homes and build close-knit communities.”