Arizona banks announce financial support for affordable housing

May 26, 2021, 4:15 AM

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Four Arizona banks recently joined forces to address the need for more affordable housing in the state amid a shortage.

Bank of America, BMO Harris, FirstBank and Alliance Bank of Arizona in April pledged a combined total donation of $60,000 to the Arizona Housing Fund, which enables the private sector to contribute to the construction and operation of affordable housing units in the state, according to a press release.

A report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition revealed Arizona has the fourth-lowest amount of affordable homes in the country, with just 26 affordable and available rental homes per 100 extremely low-income renter households.

The fund, which aims to reduce homelessness throughout the state by providing a funding source to help Arizona nonprofits build more housing units, was founded in August 2019 by Bank of America executive Howard Epstein.

“We have 10,000 people in our state on a list waiting for permanent housing, and that is unacceptable,” Epstein said in the release. “When I asked BMO Harris, First Bank, and Alliance Bank of Arizona to join Bank of America and be a part of the effort to fund more affordable housing in our state, they enthusiastically agreed.

“It’s rewarding to see so many leaders in the banking industry stepping up and being a part of the solution.”

The advisory committee plans to award its first grants this year for new projects, according to the release, which will go directly to Arizona nonprofits with a proven track record of building and operating permanent low-income housing.

The fund, housed at the Arizona Community Foundation, has received $600,000 in donations since its launch, according to the release.

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Arizona banks announce financial support for affordable housing