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'This will definitely help': Tom Simplot says Phoenix casita ruling will help ease housing crisis

The Phoenix City Council almost unanimously voted on Wednesday to legalize what are formally called accessory dwelling units — you might call them backyard guesthouses or casitas.

The council voted 8-1 to approve the policy, which supporters say will increase the available stock of affordable housing in the city, at a time when we are in an affordable housing crisis.

However, not everyone thinks they will be a boon for Phoenix neighborhoods. There are concerns about regulation — especially of short-term rentals like Airbnbs, which critics say many of these casitas will be used for. The council is working on a new policy to address those concerns now, and the new policy doesn’t allow backyard casitas to be used for short-term rentals. 

The Show spoke with Tom Simplot, who used to run the Arizona Department of Housing under former Gov. Doug Ducey and previously served on the Phoenix City Council, about this move and what it could mean for the broader housing outlook in the Valley.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.