Affordable housing emerges as a priority for Lake Havasu City

April 4, 2019

Affordable housing in Lake Havasu City was a hot topic of conversation at a meeting Tuesday at the Aquatic Center.

The meeting was organized by the city and designed to bring charitable and nonprofit groups together in the hopes they could work together to assist those in the community who need help.

Nearly 100 people attended the meeting and after representatives of each organization had introduced themselves, talk turned to the lack of affordable housing in the city.

Christine Watson, who works with the Clothes Closet, said there are people who get jobs locally, but when they can’t afford housing, they end up homeless.

Jason Millan, with the Mohave County Community Services, said he believed affordable housing was the No. 1 issue in the county.

“It’s a real problem,” Millan said. “Veterans have vouchers for housing, but they are expiring because they can’t find anything affordable. One bedroom residences are what are most needed.”

Millan said that people seeking inexpensive housing should contact the office because the list for Section 8 housing in the county has opened for the first time in five years.

“It doesn’t mean the person will find a home immediately, it will take time, but it’s important for them to get on the list so when something is available, they are ready.”

Dorn “Pat” Farrell, of Kingman, is the president of the Jerry Ambrose Veterans Council, and he said his group’s efforts to provide affordable housing to vets in the county is moving forward.

“We are getting ready to put a roof on the old county property we bought and when that’s ready, there will be 22 apartments for veterans transitioning back into civilian life,” Farrell said.

The property Farrell referred to is the former Arnold Plaza, which housed a number of county offices for many years in Kingman.

He also mentioned a 49-home development for veterans in Kingman off Hualapai Mountain Road.

“Ground should be broken on that soon, so that should help,” Farrell said.

Lake Havasu City Mayor Cal Sheehy said the goal of the meeting was the chance for people with groups that have similar interests in the social services field to get together with a future goal of working together.

“We wanted to highlight and celebrate these groups,” Sheehy said. “We want to see these groups build relationships to close gaps in service and maybe avoid duplication of services.”

Sheehy said a resource guide listing social service groups would be developed by the city so that a thorough listing would be available for those that need help.

That brought a positive response from many in the group.

“This is just a beginning,” Sheehy said. “We want to do better.”

Millan also said people should become familiar with Arizona 211, a

Arizona 211 fielded nearly 34,000 calls in 2018, and its website received more than 470,00 visitors. It referred more than 11,000 people to housing and shelters and helped 12,000 people find food and utility payment services.

The next meeting will be held at 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 15 at the Aquatic Center.

Scott Shindledecker can be reached at 928-453-4237 or sshindledecker@havasunews.com.