Local News

Tusayan Housing Authority Could Serve Some High Salaried ‘Residents’

November 25, 2015

 By Mike Scerbo

The Tusayan Town Council has met in executive session three times to hammer out details of a Housing Authority that’s supposed to provide affordable housing for residents who might need some assistance.

Draft language from the authority indicates that someone could be making quite a bit of money and still get the assistance.

The area median income (AMI) for Coconino County is about $42,000 a year. In most cases, the income limit for government assisted housing is 50% of the AMI. Tusayan is proposing affordable housing deals to those making 120% to 180% of the AMI. For an individual, that’s $50,000 to $75,000 a year. That’s a nice chunk of change and it means some of the wealthier Tusayan residents who pushed for incorporation and the Stilo development plan could be rewarded for their efforts.

Here is the draft language for the Housing Authority.

Tier 1 Income: Household income shall not exceed the 120 percent of AMT for

Coconino County (see definitions).

Tier 2 Income: Household income shall not exceed the 180 percent of AMI for Coconino

County (see definitions).

The draft document is contained in the November 4th Town Coucnil agenda. Here is a link.

By comparison, to qualify for section 8 or low income housing in Coconino, the income limit is 50% of the AMI. That amounts to about $21,000 a year. If the Tusayan housing authority were to follow those standards, it would guarantee that those who truly need the help would get the help. Here is a link to those stats.

The numbers go much higher when you consider the AMI for a family of four is $60,000 a year in Coconino County. That means families making between $72,000 and $108,000 could qualify.

If Tusayan goes by standards that allow families earning as much as $108,000 a year to get in line for affordable housing, then needy families could be crowded out or at least face wealthy competition.

Not only can a person be wealthy and crowd out needy families to get this housing, existing property owners can also cash in. The draft language says:

1. At the time of application, a Household may own other undeveloped or developed residential or commercial property. The fair market value of such property will be taken into consideration when determining Household Net Assets. Any change in the fair market value of such property shall be taken into consideration in evaluating the Household's continued Qualification to occupy the Housing Unit.

If the intent of the Housing Authority was to serve just working families needing assistance, then some revisions may be in order. If the intent is to give those making high salaries a shot, then the language looks pretty good.