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Yavapai-Apache Nation Tribal Housing (YANTH) will build 40 new homes and a community center in the tribe’s Tunlii neighborhood, making significant progress on a waiting list of more than 135 families and individuals in need of housing. 

The houses and community center will be built using an allocation from the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, pulled together with $21.5 million in investor equity through a partnership with Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments. That figure marks the largest investor equity on a single LIHTC project in Indian Country, per a statement from Travois, the development’s project manager. 

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“Almost everybody who’s on our waiting list is homeless in one way or another,” YANTH Executive Director Sharie Benson said in a statement. “Either they’re living with relatives or friends and waiting to have their own home, living outside of the Reservation area and wanting to come home, or in a situation where their family has outgrown their current living space and simply need more room. In the last scenario, the families are doing their best and they’re happy to have a home, but if we can help to create a more permanent solution for them, then we want to be able to do that.”

The development, called Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII, will include 14 single-family homes with four bedrooms, 14 single-family homes with three bedrooms, and six two-bedroom duplex units. The homes will be available to families with incomes ranging from 30 to 80 percent of the area median income. 

The project also includes a 4,500 square-foot youth center with after school programs, a community kitchen, a lounge area and a patio. Construction on the development is planned for completion in summer 2025. 

As rent prices in the Interstate 17 corridor between Flagstaff and Phoenix, Arizona climb, pushing poorer families out of the housing market, Yavapai-Apache Homes VIII will help soften the blow - and allow tribal members to live on the tribe’s reservation, close to family and tribal services, Benson said. 

“You have so many people who can't afford rent anywhere right now,” Benson said. “People want to be here, and economically, it just makes sense. The best job opportunities are within the Tribe and culturally, everything happens here.”

Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments said it was “proud” to partner with YANTH on the project. 

“Not only does this project represent the largest equity investment in Native American LIHTC housing currently, but it will continue YANTH’s tradition of building quality affordable housing for its community,” said Ben Shockey, Raymond James’ Director of Acquisitions. “Sharie Benson did a tremendous job pulling this project together, and we look forward to its completion and impact over the next 15-plus years.”