Real estate agents and home builders in Arizona are being asked to encourage new buyers to donate $25 upon closing to a new fund that’s been setup to combat homelessness in the state.
The Arizona Housing Fund is the brainchild of one Howard Epstein, a board member of nonprofit group Arizona Housing Inc.
“Too many people are stuck because there is a shortage of safe, decent, affordable housing,” Epstein said in an interview with Arizona Republic.
Epstein said he was concerned about a growing lack of affordable homes in the state, noting that the average rent in Phoenix, its biggest city, has grown by 8% in the last year, which is almost triple the rate of the national average rent increase. As a result, a growing number of Arizona citizens are at risk of becoming homeless, he said.
Now, Epstein is requesting that agents and home builders in Arizona ask buyers for a voluntary donation of $25 to go towards a fund that will be used to provide affordable housing in the state. He is also asking agents to match their client’s donations, and has an ambitious goal to raise $100 million in the next 10 to 15 years.
The motto of the Arizona Housing Fund is “close on your home and get someone closer to home.”
The good news is that home builders at least, have responded positively to the initiative. Meritage, which is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, has pledged $25,000 to match its buyers’ contributions over the next few years.
“This is a way private industry can tackle a huge social problem for our city and region,” Meritage’s CEO Steve Hilton told Arizona Republic. “It’s a game-changer our community needs for affordable housing.”