The Senate Commerce Committee has approved SB1541, a bill requiring the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) to deposit 55 percent of unclaimed property sale monies into the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). The Housing Trust Fund provides funds for rental assistance, houselessness services, and building new affordable housing projects in Arizona but has been stripped of annual and adequate funding since the Great Recession. SB1541 would restore permanent funding to these affordable housing services and the legislation will now move on to the full Senate for consideration.

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“This is a significant first step in addressing Arizona’s affordable housing crisis,” said Lena Avalos, Policy Coordinator for the Arizona Center for Empowerment. “Arizona’s Housing Trust Fund has been left stripped of regular funding for over a decade. SB1541 will ensure that more direct support can be provided to communities experiencing skyrocketing rent prices and a shortage of affordable places to live. Investment in affordable housing in Arizona must be a priority for every lawmaker at the Legislature, and we urge the full Senate to support this bill.”

Yoshi, a LUCHA and ACE member, shared her story of growing up in rental housing and facing multiple evictions, highlighting the state’s need for policies like SB1541 and the desperate need for affordable housing solutions: 

“After being evicted multiple times from our home, we were left without a home and had to jump from place to place, never having a true sense of belonging. But I know I’m not alone in these struggles. Countless families like mine still struggle today, facing unlivable wages, unaffordable housing, and more. My story is not unique. So many Arizona families are struggling today to keep a roof over their heads, and this legislature has the means to deliver solutions for millions of working families,” said Yoshi. “This bill prioritizes the well-being of your constituents, many of whom are facing dire situations when it comes to housing in Arizona.”