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Sunday, September 23, 2018

Apartment Complex Getting New Life for ‘Grandfamilies’

Soon, Phoenix residents will see a new kind of apartment complex named Grandfamilies Place Apartments of Phoenix, a place for grandparents who are raising their grandchildren. The new complex, which will be built by Tanner Properties, Inc. and Alliance Property Group, will include 56 units of affordable housing, including 44 two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom units in two, three-story buildings. The new apartments also will have an on-site social services coordinator to help senior caregivers identify the resources they need to raise their grandchildren.

An artist’s rendering of the planned Grandfamiles Place Apartments.

Construction is expected to begin in August. In Arizona alone, about 96,062 children live in grandparent-headed households. This new concept’s location will be at 1640 E. Roeser Road, currently the site of Roeser Apartments, an aging complex with a history. “While in SWAT, I served  many dope search warrants there,” said Mike Torres, a former Phoenix Police Officer who has since retired. “Many lower-income families lived there who were good people, but were trapped because they couldn’t afford to live anywhere else. Drugs were rampant inside the confines of the complex. Crimes of violence were synonymous with the apartments. The apartment complex became a magnet for criminals that affected all the neighborhoods that surrounded the complex.” That has all changed. The former residents have all been relocated to nearby newer apartments and the old complex is on its way out. “Right now it is boarded up and they are doing work to prepare for the demolition,” said Maria Bear, deputy director of housing, overseeing development in the City of Phoenix. “This development will bring new life to the area and recycle an aging property that had become a neighborhood focus of crime and blight.” She said if all goes according to plan, by summer of 2012, the majority of the apartments will house grand families. Grand families have special issues according to the Washington DC-based Grandfamilies State Law and Policy Resource Center.

  • They frequently take on care giving responsibilities with absolutely no warning.
  • Many of these caregivers live on fixed incomes and/or in small apartments and houses that are not suitable for children.
  • They may no longer be able to afford their apartments or houses after assuming the extra expenses of raising children.
  • Many caregivers are physically unable to walk stairs with children and strollers.
  • If they live in senior housing where children are often not allowed, they may be subject to eviction if the children are discovered.
  • The presence of additional children may violate their private lease agreements.
  • If they do not have legal custody of the children, they are frequently unable to convince the housing authorities to recognize their need for larger apartments.

Bear said to attract this very special demographic, there will be a very special, very targeted marketing. They will be targeting organizations that deal with senior citizens who are raising their grandchildren “What makes the project really neat is that is that a whole bunch of social services wrapped around it. There will also be resource people to help the grandparents deal with doing homework or helping them understand new  teaching methods, computer skills or the communications options that are open to children now, things they did not have to deal with when they were raising their own children,” she said. Total construction cost is estimated to be $11,470,270. Funding to build the new complex will consist of $7,792,479 of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) awarded through the Arizona Department of Housing, $1.2 million of private  financing, $277,791 in deferred developer fees, and a $2.2 million City of Phoenix HOME Investment Partnerships Program loan, according to Phoenix Housing Director Kim Dorney. HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments, designed to strengthen partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector in developing affordable housing.

“We applaud the state’s ability to envision something unique,” Bear said.

Del Monte Edwards, executive director of Tanner Properties said that State Senator Leah Landrum Taylor, came back from a conference in Boston in 2004 and approached this company about building such a place.

“We thought it was a great idea,” he said since his company has been involved in senior housing for 35 years.

“Three or four or our seniors had legal custody of their grandchildren living in a one bedroom. I looked in my building and knew there was a need for this because we are seeing it,” he said.

In 2004, the idea of using tax credits was too new, that and the fact that it was neither senior housing or low income family housing, but a sort of hybrid that confused officials. This year, however, the idea took on a life of its own.

“It took some time to get it off the ground, but then a light bulb goes on and it’s just the mechanics for putting something like this together,” Edwards said.



One Response to “Apartment Complex Getting New Life for ‘Grandfamilies’”
  1. Sally Ortega says:

    I’m glad that someone cares about grandparents rasing grandchildern. I’m grandmother rasing my third
    family and as single person and living on Social Security it hard to afford a nice place for the children. I hope that I be one those lucky person. But I leave it to God if it His will.

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