East Valley Senior Home Sharing Program Named Winner of $250,000 Housing Security Challenge

Posted By on May 28, 2021

The Arizona Community Foundation, Republic Media, and Morrison Institute for Public Policy have announced the winner in the Housing Security Challenge, the fourth philanthropic prize competition offered under the New Arizona Prize banner.

The East Valley Senior Home Sharing (SHS) Program will receive $250,000 to develop their proposal using home sharing and wraparound services to interrupt Maricopa County’s elderly homelessness crisis. Led by Tempe Community Action Agency, this collaborative team brings together resources from AZCEND, Aster Aging, ASU’s Watts College of Public Service/Action Nexus on Homelessness, and Valley of the Sun United Way.

Their array of wraparound services will foster housing permanency, independent living, and saved lives for older adults at risk of homelessness by matching them with roommates to share housing costs, companionship, and responsibilities.

“The East Valley Senior Home Sharing Program achieves exactly what this challenge sought to accomplish,” said ACF President & CEO Steve Seleznow. “Their detailed plan considers the many unique challenges seniors face when seeking permanent housing and offers smart, scalable solutions. We’re excited to watch this program grow and become a national model.”

The group was one of five finalist teams that pitched their solutions on May 26 during a live virtual event. The finalists were selected from 13 outstanding proposals that were submitted prior to the deadline in December 2020. A five-member Selection Committee reviewed each of the finalist proposals before naming the East Valley SHS Program as the winner.

The projects were judged on their ability to address the lack of affordable and stable housing in Arizona. The challenge invited projects that innovate beyond the construction of housing units to address the root causes of housing insecurity, including racial inequality, economic and physical mobility, social work, public health, education, safe neighborhoods, and more. Experts representing the housing and nonprofit sectors helped shape this challenge, and many actively participated in the review process.

The Arizona Community Foundation also awarded $10,000 grants to each of the four remaining finalist teams:

  • The Eviction Crisis – Protecting People, Saving Homes
  • Closing the Gap: Post Homelessness Housing Security Subsidy
  • Community Voices: Resident-Led Solutions for Housing Stability
  • Landlord Incentive Partnership Pilot for Sustainable Affordable Housing

Landlord Incentive Partnership Pilot for Sustainable Affordable Housing, led by UMOM New Day Centers Inc. and Hom, Inc., also received an additional $2,500 Audience Choice award at the May 26 event.

These grants will help the teams pursue other funding sources and continue their journey to combat Arizona’s housing crisis.

“The New Arizona Prize challenges have brought forth many powerful solutions to large-scale problems we face in our state,” said Arizona Republic Editorial Director Phil Boas. “As Arizona grapples with a severe shortage of affordable housing and a growing population of people experiencing homelessness, it’s critical that these kinds of on-the-ground projects continue in the community.”

You can learn more about the four other finalist projects on the Housing Security Challenge website.

The New Arizona Prize is aimed at creating the Arizona of tomorrow: a state where innovation thrives, ingenuity is supported, and the best thinking is harnessed to create long-term, positive solutions to persistent needs. While continuing to award grants, scholarships, and community loans that topped $192 million in its last fiscal year, the Arizona Community Foundation has committed to hosting philanthropic prize competitions designed to attract new thinking and innovation. Through these open, fair and transparent competitions, ACF, in partnership with Republic Media and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, deploys a portion of its philanthropic resources to generate innovative solutions to our state’s challenges.


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