April 18, 2012
Caption:(L to R) Jeff Gibson, Collins Court resident service coordinator; Gerald Jenkins, Collins Court resident;Mark Holleran, CEO of CASS & Arizona Housing, Inc. (AHI); Howard Epstein, AHI Board Chairman; Merl Waschler, CEO of Valley of the Sun United Way; D1 Councilwoman Thelda Williams; Guy Mikkelsen, Foundation for Senior Living president/CEO. Front: Kevanda Alexander, daughter of the late Kevin Collins.
District 1 City Councilwoman Thelda Williams, the city of Phoenix Housing Department and representatives from Arizona Housing Inc. (AHI), Central Arizona Shelter Services, and Valley of the Sun United Way today celebrated the ribbon-cutting for Collins Court Apartments, a renovated property providing 80 new units of affordable, permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals.
Collins Court is located at 10421 N. 33rd Ave., close to desired jobs and services, including Valley Metro bus routes, a full-service grocery store, a library, park and Metrocenter shopping mall.
In 2010, AHI acquired the foreclosed, multi-family community, formerly known as Royal Suites, with federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) funds, renovated it and renamed it Collins Court. Originally built as an extended-stay motel, Royal Suites Apartments became an eyesore to the neighborhood, known for crime. The property went into foreclosure and changed ownership many times over several years until AHI acquired it.
“This kind of reinvestment and revitalization in the area around Metrocenter is an important step in the right direction and truly something to celebrate,” said Councilwoman Williams. “Collins Court exists today thanks in large part to the city’s NSP funds that allowed AHI to buy and renovate the property. The construction project created or maintained nearly 60 local jobs. Then, thanks to our other dedicated partners involved in the supportive services program, we are helping people who are struggling to get off the streets and on the path to self-sufficiency.”
The Phoenix Housing Department provided a $3.8 million loan from the city’s NSP funds to AHI, a local nonprofit organization. Other funding sources include an Affordable Housing Program grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank and Continuum of Care funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Foundation for Senior Living, AHI’s development partner, oversaw the rehabilitation process and manages the property.
Collins Court serves as permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals earning at or below 50 percent Area Median Income. AHI partnered with Community Bridges, Cart T. Hayden Medical Center (VA), Arizona Behavioral Health Corporation, and HUD Continuum of Care program to build a supportive services program in which coordinators help residents access community resources 24-hours a day.
“Providing tenants with access to appropriate supportive services is an essential component of Collins Court,” said Mark Holleran, CEO of AHI. “Our goal is to ensure that each resident has access to the personal, social, employment and health services necessary to sustain permanent residency and achieve self-sufficiency.”
AHI has worked with Collins Court tenants to build a resident council, Block Watch group, and a sense of pride in their community. The property includes secure access, a community garden for residents, a weekly farmer’s market and various activities for residents to engage in their community.
“It is with strong public/private partnerships like this that we can stabilize a property and neighborhood and get affordable, permanent supportive housing projects off the ground to help a community in need,” said Phoenix Housing Director Kim Dorney. “Collins Court is a wonderful example of what partnering can accomplish. In place of a blighted property that attracted crime, today we have quality, affordable housing with energy-efficient improvements that will serve many individuals as well as the surrounding neighborhood.”