PHOENIX—As foreclosures spread like a plague, this city stands as one of the hot zones.

The city saw 14,747 single-family homes foreclose in 2008. While it's the fifth-largest city in the nation with 1.6 million people, Phoenix's foreclosure activity tops the four larger cities. In the first quarter of this year, one out of every 40 homes in the metro area received a foreclosure filing, ranking ninth in the nation, according to RealtyTrac, a California-based online marketplace of foreclosure properties.

To help end the crisis, Phoenix has received $39.4 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, says Mayor Phil Gordon. It is one of the largest allocations to a city.

The funds will go toward several programs, including:
Ӣ Downpayment assistance;
Ӣ Multifamily rental acquisition and family rental loan assistance; and
Ӣ Homeownership acquisition, rehabilitation, and resale

The city has ranked its neighborhoods into three tiers, with priority going to redeveloping blighted areas that have the highest foreclosure rates and turning around neighborhoods that have moderate to high risk.

In other moves, Mayor Gordon has also established a goal for the city to help ensure 1,000 affordable housing units in downtown Phoenix in the next four years.

“Phoenix is a growing city that, in normal economic times, adds approximately 3,500 new residents every month,” he says. “Typically, we have a need for all types of housing, including affordable housing.”

The city provides special infill housing incentive teams to assist potential affordable housing projects through the development process. The teams can expedite plan processing, and the city can waive fees.