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Maricopa County Upgrades 143 Affordable-Housing Units In Avondale

(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Part of the upgraded housing units in Avondale.

Maricopa County officials Thursday celebrated the grand opening of a first-of-its kind affordable housing project in Avondale.

A federal program helped build 143 brand-new units on the site of previous public housing.

Water splashes in a play area of brightly painted, modern Avondale apartments. It’s a stark contrast to the previous public housing that was built here more than 40 years ago.

Maricopa County demolished the old complex and built new rental-assistance homes on the property as part of a federal program.

Maricopa County Housing Authority Director Gloria Muñoz said once federal dollars stopped coming to build public housing at new locations, this program was a way to keep affordable, modern housing available.

“And we knew from a priority and a housing plan that we needed to do something to make this property live for another 30 or 40 years,” she said.  

Muñoz says the rental assistance addresses a need for affordable housing in the Valley.

“And there’s very little of that type of inventory in our community," she said. " So that’s what makes a huge difference when you have this quality property and you have rental assistance to help with it.”

Nshimirimana Asheri is an 18-year-old Tanzanian refugee who moved to the U.S. in 2008 with her family. She says compared with her last apartment, the new amenities are much better.

“It was old, and the air-conditioner was not working, and it was like, really old," she said. "But this one, everything is new, everything works and it’s great.”

While all 143 units are filled in Avondale, you can go to the Maricopa County website to apply for future upgraded rental-assistance housing.

Munoz says more modernized public housing will open in October.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.