Supporting Residents with the Right Multifamily Housing Policies

Balancing the Scales: Supporting Residents with the Right Multifamily Housing Policies

Housing represents more than just four walls and a roof; it is a complex labyrinth of economics, policies, and social necessities. As urbanization surges and technology integrates into our daily lives, affordability and housing supply have become focal points for communities nationwide. On a recent episode of Open Door from Cox Communities, host Valerie M. Sargent dove into the intricacies of government housing policies and their impact on the Multifamily industry with a particular spotlight on the vibrant state of Arizona.  She was joined for the conversation by Courtney LeVinus, President and CEO of the Arizona Multihousing Association and Susan Anable, the Phoenix Market Vice President at Cox Communications.

The Housing Shortage Puzzle in Arizona

Courtney LeVinus painted a vivid picture of Arizona’s housing deficit, citing a staggering shortage of units. This shortfall has unleashed a cascade of affordability issues for citizens across the state. But hope glimmers on the horizon as Courtney illustrates legislative efforts to foster development and housing opportunities, underlining the key roles of legislation in revitalizing Multifamily redevelopment, and hastening the once sluggish rezoning processes.

Bridging the Digital Divide: Cox Communications’ Mission

The conversation then shifted towards an often-overlooked facet of modern living: connectivity. Susan Anable’s perspectives on Cox Communications’ proactive strategies to minimize the digital divide were thought-provoking. The innovative low-cost internet offers, subsidized devices, and the establishment of technology labs stand as a testament to Cox’s dedication to fostering inclusive growth within Multifamily communities. Moreover, the success of Wi-Fi hotspots stretched across metro Phoenix epitomizes Cox’s commitment to keeping communities connected.  As we forge further into an era where work and education heavily rely on the internet, the broadband industry stands as a beacon of investment and innovation, largely buoyed by light-touch regulatory oversight.

The Economics of Housing: Price Caps and Controls

Continuing the discourse, the podcast illustrated why economists universally frown upon price caps or controls, particularly regarding rent. The narrative of Arizona’s occupancy rates hitting record levels amid the pandemic, which triggered a rise in rents due to the demand spike, serves as a cautionary tale. Citing St. Paul, Minnesota’s rent control ordeal and subsequent plummet in housing permits, the message rang clear: excessive intervention stunts housing market growth.

Bulk Billing and Policy Implications

Courtney and Susan also emphasized how bulk billing programs can translate into affordable broadband access for communities. They also broke down the potential risks of policies that could hinder such initiatives, arguing for policy frameworks that support, rather than constrict, the broadening of internet services, acknowledging it’s an expectation, not merely a perk, for modern renters and buyers.

Legislative Landscape: Arizona’s Policy Considerations

Arizona’s legislative body is currently contemplating a suite of bills that tackle various housing issues, from rent control preemption to the intricacies of background checks and housing vouchers. Courtney provided valuable insights into how these policies could sculpt the future of housing in the state and across the country.

The Sustainability of Connectivity

With federal funding poised on a precipice, the role of service providers like Cox becomes ever more crucial in sustaining connectivity for countless homes, especially as low-income households face the potential expiration of subsidies provided by Federal programs. Susan underscored Cox’s commitment to finding solutions to keep families connected in the face of these challenges.

Safeguarding the Network

With an uptick in reliance on public Wi-Fi, Susan and Courtney discussed the importance of secure access. Measures like authentication processes are put in place to ensure the security and integrity of the network, offering peace of mind for users tapping into city-wide hotspots as they navigate their daily lives.

The Multifaceted Role of the Arizona Multihousing Association

Courtney outlined the association’s dual advocacy for both residents and property owners, highlighting initiatives such as emergency rental assistance and the push for virtual courts, all in service of streamlining and benefiting Arizona’s residents. Additionally, Courtney spoke about the role of smart home technology in managing resources more efficiently, such as water and energy, underpinning the importance of integrating cutting-edge tech for a greener tomorrow.

Partnerships and Legislation for the Future

Both Susan and Courtney stressed the immense value that thoughtful partnerships can play in resolving housing and wider societal challenges. They also touched upon the need for innovative legislation that can adapt to the shifting landscape of water supply and the “build-to-rent” concept, which is gaining traction in the suburbs of Arizona.

Laying the Blueprints for Tomorrow’s Communities

Today’s episode laid out the intricate challenges and exciting opportunities that frame the Multifamily housing arena. From legislation to technology and beyond, the Multifamily industry stands on the brink of transformative change. As Arizona, and indeed the nation, contend with these complex issues, one thing remains certain: it will take informed dialogue, collaboration, and a willingness to embrace innovative solutions to navigate the housing maze and create sustainable communities for the future. Stay tuned to Open Door for more insights into the vibrant world of Multifamily living and community building.

The Open Door Podcast by Cox Communities
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