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UnAffordable and UnSheltered

Are homelessness, and affordable housing in Arizona connected? Housing in the Phoenix area has become hard to afford. However, it's often the institutional barriers that keep people homeless. UnSheltered and UnAffordable podcasts explore the obstacles that can make surviving and thriving in the Valley a challenge.

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Latest Episodes
  • Hundreds of unhoused people used to live in tents on the Salt River near Tempe Town Lake. But in August, Tempe made the riverbed a no-trespassing zone. In a city that doesn’t have a purpose-built shelter, where did the people living in the riverbed go? And what mechanisms are in place to help them? This episode is about options for emergency shelter in Tempe, and how city government and non profits have been working to help.
  • The issues around unaffordable housing have increased for low-income and homeless populations as home prices continue to rise, and waiting lists for shelters grow longer. However, many individuals in the homeless population face challenges that go beyond finding available housing units. In this episode, learn about some of the barriers and solutions for folks trying to get back on their feet and into a place of their own.
  • Arizona real estate is at a premium and rental rates are skyrocketing. Those facts led homeless shelters and affordable housing to experience growing wait lists. The people on those lists are desperately trying to find a safe place to stay when their only alternative is living on the streets or in their cars. How does it feel to finally be placed in affordable housing? In this episode, meet 54-year-old Dorothy Brandt as she shares her journey, and how she got to where she is today.
  • The moratorium on evictions has ended, and there's a housing shortage with no end in sight. On top of that, median home prices in Arizona have increased to the point that even some dual-income middle-class families are struggling. So, where does that leave those who cannot afford rent or a mortgage? Even as waiting lists grow for shelters, transitional housing, and affordable housing, there is hope. In this episode, learn about the challenges and housing possibilities for Arizona's extreme low-income individuals and families.
  • Does the "American Dream" still exist in Arizona? Years ago, it was possible to live an affordable life as a single or with just one hard-working breadwinner in the family. Now, most middle class families need two sources of income — and even dual-income families are having a difficult time finding a suitable home amidst the housing shortage and increase in home prices.
  • A lot has changed in Arizona’s housing market since UnAffordable was published in 2019. Two years later, Arizona's issues still include housing shortages, and now, more acute unaffordability. Hear how nonprofits and coalitions dedicated to helping Arizonans trying to find a decent place to live have experienced difficulties and success. Plus, Tempe Mayor Corey Woods shares his personal struggle finding a home and his city's plans for developing affordable housing.
  • Sentences for misdemeanor crimes typically include fines and probation. While it's easy to say those sentences aren't harsh, for the poorest people in Arizona, the effects of these penalties often far outweigh the seriousness of their crimes. For the large number of Americans who are one unexpected expense away from losing everything, a fine or probation could be what makes them homeless.
  • It's not a crime to be homeless. But survival for unsheltered people sometimes means standing or sleeping in odd places, fighting to maintain space or belongings, and escaping the situation through drugs, all of which often lead to misdemeanor charges. Those who are arrested for low-level offenses like trespassing, disorderly conduct, or simple possession face a justice system where cases are disposed of in minutes, without access to legal counsel, and with lasting impacts on their ability to escape homelessness.
  • The post-pandemic world will be a lot different from the pre-pandemic world. At this moment, nobody really knows what the next week will look like - let alone the next year. That uncertainty raises several challenges and questions for the organizations that serve unsheltered Arizonans.
  • It's safe to argue that the COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster. And the way we prepare for, respond to and discuss disasters in the United States often excludes the homeless and poor - to their detriment. From emergency shelter to relief and recovery, disaster response isn't designed to include the homeless.