Payson has a shortage of low-income housing for seniors, according to Rick Croy of the Payson Regional Housing Development (PRHD). "A lot of lower income seniors in Payson are struggling to meet their obligations," he said.
Kevin Alderson, assistant vice president of National Bank of Arizona, which is initially providing funding for Payson's new senior apartment project, cited a Novogradac research study that showed the community's senior population represented 58 percent of the town's total population in 2000.
The company estimated that figure will climb to 63 percent by 2008.
Alderson and Croy agree the need for affordable senior housing in Payson is great.
"More than 55 percent of Payson's senior population had an income of less than $35,000 in 2003," said Alderson.
To combat this problem, the PRHD, a nonprofit organization, is opening up affordable apartments for seniors, 55 years and older. "There are three other senior affordable apartment complexes in Payson, but they're all full and have waiting lists," said Croy.
The Canal Senior Apartments are located off Main Street, at 807 S. Westerly Rd., just behind Main Street Paints. The project is funded through federal and state money.
"The state doesn't provide money for these types of projects unless there is a need," added Croy. The total cost of the project is expected to be about $5.1 million, he said.
This is PRHD's first project of this sort in Payson.
The complex will have 57 one-bedroom apartments and 6 two-bedroom apartments. All are handicapped accessible. Croy said all of the apartments would be well insulated, and have dual-pane glass windows. There is an elevator in the building, and there are two community rooms for socializing and viewing television.
The three-story complex broke ground earlier in 2005 about two years after the paperwork was filed to receive funding from the state. There are currently 29 applications pending, and the regional manager for Village Management Company, Barb Bashor, said she has had more than 70 additional inquiries about getting an apartment.
The one-bedroom apartments range in cost from $167 to $399 a month. The two-bedroom apartments start at $211 to $490 a month; electricity is not included in the rent. There are also laundry facilities in the building. Tenants must be within certain income brackets to qualify.
Croy says the contractor is Decca Construction from the Valley, but it has tried to use local labor when possible.
Croy said the apartment complex would help meet the demand of Payson seniors in need of reasonably priced apartments, but because the community's elderly population is growing, similar facilities must be built in the future.
"There's an even greater need for housing for seniors who have extremely low incomes, but to build those, it takes even more resources than we have right now," he added.
To learn the qualifications for an apartment at the Canal Senior Apartments, call 1-800-404-6453.
By the end of December construction should be completed. Bashor said she expects tenants will be able to move in sometime in early January.