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A solution to affordable housing crunch

Some realtors say now is the time to buy a house while prices may be lower.
Some realtors say now is the time to buy a house while prices may be lower.(WAFB)
Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 5:57 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Affordable housing is an issue in Tucson. Reports show only about 70 percent of the housing in Tucson is affordable. Nearly half the renters spend 30 to 50 percent of their income on housing.

In order to address these issues, the Tucson City Council will explore the idea of Accessory Dwelling Units.

These are not the tiny homes that many people might have seen in recent years. ADU’s take it a step further.

“Usually there’s a bedroom, a living area, a full kitchen, that really part of the idea,” said Koren Manning, a planning administrator for the city of Tucson. “So they can be 600 to 800 square feet is very typical.”

What sets them apart is the full kitchen. Zoning regulations prohibit guest houses or casitas from having a full kitchen. It will take a vote of the council to change zoning to allow for a kitchen to be part of the unit.

“It’s about how you can create a living unit that really works for the resident,” she said. “Whether it’s a tenant, whether its an elderly family member, a small family, a couple.”

It’s not a new concept, it’s been floating around the country in places like Portland where housing prices have skyrocketed.

It makes better use of available space, adds to the affordability housing stock and battles gentrification which has become an issue here.

And it will help the population as it ages by allowing them to avoid nursing homes and congregant living spaces.

“I see that it will be a very valuable tool for helping seniors age in place,” Manning said. “And helping people with elder care issues that we know are becoming a huge issue in our community.”

If the council approves moving forward there will be public hearings and community engagement before moving forward.

The process could take six to nine months.

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