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Officials break ground on 78 affordable housing units in downtown Phoenix

Mayor Kate Gallego (red pants) takes part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Monroe Gardens Apartments in downtown Phoenix on Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. (Facebook Photo/Mayor Kate Gallego)

PHOENIX – With rents soaring across Phoenix, officials broke ground on an affordable housing project in the downtown area Thursday morning.

Monroe Gardens Apartments will replace the A.L. Krohn East public housing complex at Monroe and 15th streets in the low-income Edison-Eastlake neighborhood.

The old complex, which was built in the 1960s, had 38 units. Monroe Gardens will feature 78 energy-efficient apartments with a new playground and community space.

“There is no doubt that Phoenix needs more affordable housing to meet the needs of our fast-growing community,” Mayor Kate Gallego, who participated in the groundbreaking, said in a press release. “These units bring Phoenix one step closer to that goal while also helping to spur greater investment in the surrounding area.”

Monroe Gardens, which is scheduled to open in late 2020, will consist of five buildings, with apartments ranging from one to five bedrooms.

Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, residents will be charged 30% of their income to live at the complex.

In 2018, HUD awarded a $30 million grant to the city’s housing department to redevelop Edison-Eastlake.

In a Facebook post, Gallego said 361 affordable housing units have opened in Phoenix over the past 18 months, 248 more are expected to open in the next year, and construction will begin on 455 more units in the next six months.

Arizona’s capital has long has been considered an inexpensive place to live, but that may be changing. Even some middle-class people are struggling to make ends meet as the city experiences some of the nation’s fastest-rising rents, jumping as much as 7% over the past year.

“Phoenix residents deserve housing options, regardless of their income,” Councilman Carlos Garcia said in the release. “The groundbreaking of Monroe Gardens is a positive step towards providing all residents an affordable, safe and comfortable place to live.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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