Arizona has the fourth worst affordable housing shortage in the country for households with extremely low incomes, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) Gap report. Recognizing this need, six Arizona law firms have stepped up to address the need, pledging donations to the Arizona Housing Fund, pledging a total of $35K to build and operate more permanent, supportive housing throughout the state.
The Arizona Housing Fund, which was founded in August 2019 by Bank of America executive Howard Epstein, and is housed at the Arizona Community Foundation, has received a total of $735K in donations thus far. When the fund reaches $1 million, Arizona Housing Fund will announce the grant application process for Arizona nonprofits seeking funding to build and operate permanent, supportive housing communities.
“We have 10,000 people in our state on a list waiting for permanent housing,” says Epstein, “and that is unacceptable. The real estate community embraced the Arizona Housing Fund mission from the start. The banking community then rallied around the cause, with four leading banks donating a total of $60K. Now, law firms are stepping up and doing their part to build a better community that takes care of the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens.”
Snell & Wilmer Partner Jody Pokorski says her firm welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the Fund, stating “Now, more than ever, having affordable housing and a roof over your head is absolutely critical. Snell & Wilmer is proud to contribute to a community that has embraced the firm and its community involvement efforts. We are honored to support such a worthy cause to and to help the Valley become a stronger and safer environment for its residents and visitors.”
Gary Jaburg, founder and managing partner of Jaburg Wilk, says it was important for his firm to join this joint effort. “Giving back is a part of our culture here, and I can’t think of a better way to support our community than helping to ensure everyone has access to the very basic need of affordable housing. It’s heartening to see our industry come together like this in support of a common cause.”
Grady Gammage Jr., one of the founders of Gammage & Burnham, says his firm is committed to giving back to the community, adding “Our roots are in Arizona, and the success and well-being of our state means making sure the basic needs of all Arizonans are met. It’s our pleasure to support the work of the Arizona Housing Fund in building more affordable housing for those who need it most.”
Quarles & Brady staff and attorneys volunteer significant resources, including time and expertise, on a number of nonprofit organizations. Diane Haller, a partner at Quarles & Brady, says, “There is such a need for more affordable housing in our state, and I’m proud of our firm and our legal community for stepping up and making an impact.”
Arizona Housing Fund (AZHF) is a dedicated sustainable fundraising source to help Arizona nonprofits build more permanent and supportive housing that will help our state’s most vulnerable citizens. The Fund’s equity grants will enable more housing units to be constructed, with the goal of reducing homelessness throughout the state. Funding primarily comes from a voluntary escrow donation program, where homebuilders, developers, agents, and title companies participate in the program and give buyers and sellers an opportunity to donate to the AZHF. Tax-deductible donations from individuals, foundations, nonprofits, and for-profit corporations are also welcome.