Cedar Crossing helps its residents obtain housing stability and overall wellness.
The new Phoenix development provides 74 affordable apartments, the majority serving families. It is co-located with the Patina Wellness Center, which offers substance-abuse treatment, specialized services for pregnant women, and other supportive services.
“It is our first big foray complementing the two core services that Native American Connections (NAC) provides, and that’s behavioral health and affordable housing,” says Joe Keeper, director of real estate development at NAC.
When the organization acquired the property, it was home to a deteriorating medical office complex, but NAC knew its close proximity to light-rail and downtown amenities made it a strong location for multifamily housing. However, the site was too large for the type of housing the nonprofit organization usually builds.
The development team decided to use the property to build both housing and a new wellness center that brings NAC’s existing treatment programs to one location. To accommodate the separate but complementary projects, the lot was split and separate legal ownership entities were formed.
The $17.6 million Cedar Crossing offers studios to three-bedroom apartments. Twenty-six units serve residents earning no more than 40% of the area median income (AMI), 34 units are at 50% of the AMI, and 14 units are at 60% of the AMI.
Many of the residents at Cedar Crossing were homeless or are at risk of homelessness, and many have substance-abuse or mental health issues. Nearly 50% of the residents are Native Americans, which fits NAC’s longtime mission to serve this population. The wellness center combines evidence-based treatment practices with Native American healing and ceremonies, integrated medical care, and alternative therapies.
Clients exiting Patina, which has 70 residential treatment beds, have the opportunity to move into Cedar Crossing if there is an opening. Likewise, housing development residents can access treatment at the nearby center.
During the development phase, one of the unique moves was to bring in graduate-level architecture students from Arizona State University to work with NAC and local architects. The team created space that blends Native American traditions and customs with a practice energy-efficient design. NAC expects Cedar Crossing to earn LEED Platinum certification.
In addition to being close to jobs and transit, the development is near a strong, private high school that offers scholarships. Residents also have access to financial literacy, job development, food, and children’s programs.
“What’s most important is providing a safe, secure place for families to live, and then we wrap them with services,” Keeper says.
Cedar Crossing was financed largely with low-income housing tax credit equity from National Equity Fund.