The nationwide crisis of affordable housing is a serious crisis here in Flagstaff. Flagstaff has had a chronic housing shortage for many years. With the recent escalation in rents and housing prices, more and more of our fellow citizens can no longer afford to live in the community. Second homes further impact the availability of homes for year-round residents as does the growth of online platforms such as AirBnB and Vrbo. F3 supports city policies that allow for permanent affordable home ownership and rentals, including the purchasing of land by the city for this purpose, passing bonds to build affordable housing, incentivizing developers to set aside a portion of their proposed developments for affordable housing or provide parcels in subdivisions for affordable housing, building ADU’s, using tax credits, land trusts, equitable finance practices, and other creative mechanisms that can increase the stock of affordable housing.
We promote development of small-footprint homes over luxury development and we advocate for sustainable building practices that reduce the cost of home ownership over time. We believe the conversation on affordable housing is part of a larger conversation on the development of neighborhoods. It is not sufficient simply to build housing units; they must be built within a neighborhood ecology that includes the economic and social structures that support vibrant community life. Unfortunately, unless Flagstaff takes significant steps now, we will become like so many other mountain towns in the western US, where only the rich can afford to live there, and all the service workers commute from far away. This would not only impact the diversity within the Flagstaff community, but also exacerbate climate change due to increased commuting, and adversely impact land use in nearby communities.
Housing Affordability in Flagstaff
Flagstaff’s 10-year Housing Plan
In 2021, Flagstaff’s Housing Commission created five Informal Working Groups to provide recommendations to the Commission for use in the Housing Plan. F3’s Executive Director served on the Housing and Sustainability Working Group.