Nonprofit PRIDE provides affordable housing, job training

The PRIDE meeting discussed the sale of one of the nonprofit's affordable housing properties and various improvements to its other properties. (Nathan Thrash/DD)
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The Phoenix Residential Investment Development Effort board, better known as PRIDE, met Tuesday to discuss its progress in providing affordable housing to the city of Phoenix.

The group discussed the sale of one of its affordable housing projects, alongside the reduction in crime and various improvements at its other affordable housing communities.

PRIDE is a nonprofit organization created in 1989 to increase the supply of affordable housing in Phoenix and combat community deterioration. It works with the City of Phoenix and other corporations to buy properties and turn them into housing for middle- and low-income households.

The PRIDE board announced its sale of Whispering Willows Co-op, a 99-unit affordable housing project in north Phoenix, during the meeting. The sale was earlier approved by the city, which loaned PRIDE $1.3 million to buy and rehabilitate the property in 1994. Proceeds from the sale will go toward paying off the loan and investment in other affordable housing properties.

“By that sale we have fulfilled our mission of providing affordable housing here in the city, but also it gives us an opportunity to continue that mission and provide even more,” said Jason Israel, president of the PRIDE board.

PRIDE is also looking into KaBOOM! grants, which are grants from a private foundation to fund playgrounds for impoverished children and affordable housing communities. The company intends to use the grant for its Santa Fe Springs property, which has seen a reduction in crime rates.

The company wants to place additional security measures at Santa Fe Springs to further reduce crime rates. It is working with property management firm Dunlap & Magee Property Management to get a bid to install security cameras and card readers and to fix the gates, according to Montgomery.

“Fortunately from when we took over the property to where we are now, we’ve had a significant reduction in our overall crime rate,” Israel said. “There were some issues involving drugs, prostitution, the selling of drugs and a lot of that has been reduced.”

According to Israel, the reduction in crime is due to hiring off-duty police officers instead of continuing to use on-site security firms.

“Overall our resident population has significantly improved from what it was when we first took over the property, to what it is now,” Israel said.

The PRIDE board intends to provide public housing residents with job training, job counseling, education and connections to employers in the near future, according to PRIDE Housing Director Cindy Stotler.

“We’re going to have to rehab a little building out there so that we can hold classes and things like that, put some computers up and get them connected to resume writing and things like that,” Stotler said.

On the topic of job training, Israel said, “We do our best to go ahead and seek out, whether it be other nonprofits or agencies that provide those services, and bring them on to our properties to help out our residents and our families.”

Clarification: October 26, 2016

An earlier version of this story failed to specify that the job training provided by PRIDE is for public housing residents at a Phoenix Public Housing property and not a PRIDE board property. It has been updated to be more specific.

Contact the reporter at Nathaniel.Thrash@asu.edu.

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