I recently had the pleasure of witnessing the Pascua Yaqui Tribe receive the Arizona Department of Housing’s 2014 Housing Hero Award for Tribal Initiatives.
The ADOH’s Housing Hero Awards are named in honor of the outstanding public service exemplified by the late Brian Mickelsen, who was an original member of the Arizona Housing Finance Authority. The awards recognize outstanding service by nominees in seven categories, including a category for tribal initiatives that recognizes achievement in helping to meet the housing needs of tribal members in Arizona through the provision of housing and/or services.
Three years ago, the tribe received this award for its first Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) project, and this year the tribe was recognized for its continued success with its second and third LIHTC projects — Pascua Yaqui Homes II and Pascua Yaqui Homes IV.
With back-to-back allocations in 2011 and 2012, the tribe completed the new construction or rehabilitation of 96 housing units in less than three years. Pascua Yaqui Homes II used a 2011 allocation of credits to build 26 new homes and rehabilitate 30 existing homes on the reservation in Tucson. Pascua Yaqui Homes IV’s 2012 allocation added 40 more rehab units to the tribe’s LIHTC portfolio.
And the tribe has not stopped — it recently received a 2014 allocation of credits from ADOH to construct 20 new units targeted to tribal elders age 55 and up for the Pascua Yaqui Homes V project.
Accepting the award on behalf of the tribe was Richard Valenzuela, the tribal housing director. Mr. Valenzuela expressed his appreciation to ADOH for continuing to allocate a certain portion of its yearly LIHTCs to tribal projects, which simply cannot compete with non-tribal projects. “Without the tribal set-aside, our projects would not have been possible,” said Mr. Valenzuela.
I truly enjoyed sharing in the tribe’s recognition and look forward to watching the tribe continue its LIHTC success with Pascua Yaqui Homes V. And I have a feeling the tribe won’t stop there!