Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing building 40 homes, community center for youth

A new development in the Yavapai-Apache Nation will bring dozens of affordable homes and a community center to members experiencing homelessness and rising housing costs.

Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing (YANTH) recently began construction of Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII, a development with 40 homes and a youth center in the Tunlii neighborhood of the Nation. Last year, the Arizona Department of Housing awarded the project an allocation of tax credits through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the largest source of affordable housing financing in the U.S.

YANTH currently maintains a waiting list of more than 135 families and individuals in need of housing.

“Almost everybody who’s on our waiting list is homeless in one way or another,” YANTH Executive Director Sharie Benson said. “Either they’re living with relatives or friends and waiting to have their own home, living outside of the Reservation area and wanting to come home, or in a situation where their family has outgrown their current living space and simply need more room. In the last scenario, the families are doing their best and they’re happy to have a home, but if we can help to create a more permanent solution for them, then we want to be able to do that.”

Recently, YANTH closed with Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments on $21.5 million in investor equity to help fund Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII. It’s the most investor equity ever committed to a Native housing project through the LIHTC program. In addition to the investor equity, the project received a $600,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant.

“Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments is proud to partner with the Yavapai-Apache Nation on this exciting project,” said Ben Shockey, director of acquisitions at Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments. “Not only does this project represent the largest equity investment in Native American LIHTC housing currently, but it will continue YANTH’s tradition of building quality affordable housing for its community. Sharie Benson did a tremendous job pulling this project together, and we look forward to its completion and impact over the next 15-plus years.”

Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII will include 14 single-family homes with four bedrooms, 14 single-family homes with three bedrooms and six two-bedroom duplex units. The homes will serve households with a wide range of incomes from 30% to 80% of the area median income.

Benson said the development will help families unable to pay increasing rent costs along the Interstate 17 corridor between Flagstaff and Phoenix. Additionally, it will create opportunities for Tribal members to live on the Reservation lands and be close to family, friends and the many services provided.

“You have so many people who can’t afford rent anywhere right now,” Benson said. “People want to be here, and economically, it just makes sense. The best job opportunities are within the Tribe and culturally, everything happens here.”

The project also includes construction of a new 4,500-square-foot youth center with after-school tutoring, a community kitchen, a lounge area and a patio.

“It’ll be something that will really draw the teens to where they have somewhere to hang out, do their homework and just have fun,” Benson said. “It’s a place where they can feel good about what they’re doing and who they’re with, and the Nation will provide supervision the whole time.”

Construction on Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII is expected to be complete by summer 2025.

“This is a huge accomplishment by Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing to receive this level of funding and begin construction on a beautiful project. These 40 homes will provide safe and affordable housing for Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal members,” Travois project manager Meaghan Hosterman said. “We are proud to be a partner with YANTH on its eighth LIHTC project and are thrilled to see construction is beginning.”

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