Affordable Housing Seminar Thursday

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Courtesy computer illustration

This is an example of the type of homes First Home Partners plans to build in Payson.

Low-income families and individuals struggling to pay rent or find affordable housing in Rim Country may soon have more options.

A Tucson-based developer of affordable single-family and multi-family homes plans to build more than a dozen site-built homes and help buyers afford them with government subsidies.

Ed Robinson, managing member of Advanced Community Solutions, said it is increasingly becoming harder for low-income individuals to buy with the state cutting back on funding, however, his company has consistently applied for and been given federal grants that assist with a homeowner’s down payment and closing costs.

Robinson, along with First Home Partners, will host a seminar for anyone interested in becoming a homeowner at 7 p.m., Thursday, in the Best Western conference center, 801 N. Beeline Highway.

Households earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a year are eligible to qualify for grants up to $36,000.

Robinson said First Home Partners plans to build three and four bedroom homes priced between $111,000 and $150,000.

For a potential homeowner to qualify for a maximum subsidy, a $120,000 home will cost a family of four earning $35,000 a year $500 a month, at today’s interest rates, Robinson explained.

First Home Partners has already bought 15 home sites in town and have plans to build within the next year. The first phase of building includes homes in the area of Colcord Road and Longhorn Road and several individual sites around town. Several of the sites have older trailers on them, which First Home Partners will demolish and rebuild on.

Cleaning up blighted areas filled with dilapidated homes is one of Advanced Community Solutions goals. Over the organization’s 10-year history, Robinson estimates they have helped 4,000 families get into homes they can afford.

First Home Partners decided to come to Payson, after building affordable housing in other Arizona communities, including Willcox, Nogales, Flagstaff and Tucson, because housing options for the working class are so limited.

“Even with today’s low rates, most people can’t afford a down payment and monthly payments,” he said. “Ten years ago, we started an organization that works with nonprofits to get people qualified for grants that lower the cost.”

In addition, with an ASU campus potentially coming to town, the need for affordable housing is on the rise.

“We can’t build in Phoenix now because there are so many homes there available, but in Payson there is a definite need.”

First Home Partners is committed to building quality site-built homes that fit into a community’s architecture, Robinson said.

Most of the homes planned for construction in Payson vary in size from 1,200 to 1,500 square feet and include siding, brick and neutral color themes.

The only thing required of a potential homebuyer is a commitment to live in the home for at least five years, which is required by the federal grant, and a $1,000, which is put toward the down payment, not First Home Partners.

To qualify, a homeowner’s income, family size and credit worthiness will be taken into account.

First-time homebuyers, including families, individuals and retirees are encouraged to apply. Individuals that qualify for the program are required to take educational classes that last two to eight hours. Classes will cover how to handle homeownership and all that goes along with it, including what to do when the plumbing goes out.

First Home Partners makes money by constructing the homes and selling them, Robinson said.

“We don’t do it for the money,” he said. “There is a feel good aspect of helping a family get a home that you can’t replace with money.”

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