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Phoenix senior living community is getting $9.1M for eco-friendly upgrades

This month, the Department of Housing and Urban Development presented a $9.1 million loan to Urban League Manor Apartments, a Phoenix senior living community, to upgrade the apartment building in ways that’ll make it greener.

The Urban League Manor apartment building near 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road was built in 1981 with funding from HUD’s Section 202 program.

Now, another program is supporting the eco-friendly upgrades, which include completely replacing the electrical system and installing solar panels.

“All of these upgrades will allow this property to qualify for net-zero certification,” said Jason Pu, HUD’s Region 9 director.

Pu emphasized the significance of programs that address both affordable housing and climate resilience.

“It’s the type of program that I think, personally, we need more of,” he said.

HUD estimates that it’s funded at about 20% of the need for its services. But, according to Pu, programs like this are playing the long game when it comes to reaping benefits.

Adequate resources and funding for new and existing programs like this, Pu added, will be key.

“We're going to take those actions anyway because it's the right thing to do,” he said.

Still, Pu said residents will benefit immediately in retrofitted homes that are more sustainable and efficient against Arizona’s increasingly extreme heat.

“Being able to upgrade existing facilities is the environmentally sustainable way to go,” said Pu, “but also the least disruptive to the residents.”

HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program, according to Pu, is one way the department aims to support similar state, local and tribal efforts.

Kirsten Dorman is a field correspondent at KJZZ. Born and raised in New Jersey, Dorman fell in love with audio storytelling as a freshman at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in 2019.