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This company is building 4,500 affordable housing units in Phoenix, southern Arizona

Growing older is expensive. About 49% of adults between the ages of 55 and 66 had no personal retirement savings, according to 2017  Census Bureau figures. Two big expenses are medical and housing. But there’s a company that’s addressing one of those costs.

Dan Richards is a partner at Greenlight Communities, a multifamily housing development with several projects underway in the Phoenix area and two in southern Arizona. He says for people earning between $35,000 and $60,000 a year, it can be tough to own a home, so they may be forced to rent. Greenlight builds apartment complexes geared toward these renters.

"So, our focus on this missing middle is really kind of catering to 'the fabric of the community.' And so we're focusing on teachers, we focus on health care workers, first responders, military and retirees," said Richards.

Richards says Greenlight is a private-sector solution where the average rent for a brand new apartment built by the company is about $1,300 a month versus $2,000 for a luxury apartment.

He says Greenlight is able to save on costs by building on underutilized land in the Phoenix area and creating energy efficient spaces. 

There are several Greenlight communities dotting the Valley, including a new project in Goodyear that will be opening early next year, as well as a community in Tucson that will begin leasing next summer. According to Greenlight, it is bringing more than 4,500 affordable housing units to the state.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.