All the residents at Encanto Pointe in Phoenix used to be homeless.

They lived on the streets an average of five to 10 years, estimates Diana Yazzie-Devine, president and CEO of Native American Connections (NAC).

Her organization, in partnership with The NRP Group, built Encanto Pointe for the chronically homeless.

“It is the first Housing First community built from the ground up in Arizona,” says Yazzie-Devine.

The $10.5 million, 54-unit project embraces the Housing First concept of moving individuals immediately from the streets or shelters and into their own homes. Once housing needs are met, residents are encouraged, but not mandated, to take part in a robust offering of services.

Keeping with NAC’s mission, there is a focus on the Native American population. About half of the residents are Native Americans. Twelve are women.

Located near the Native American Community Service Center and a Veterans Affairs complex, the new project replaces a blighted mobile home park.

The building features solar panels, and each apartment has a small tiled room, where residents can store their bicycles. None of the residents have cars, but almost all have bikes.

Financing for the project-based Sec. 8 development includes $6.4 million in low-income housing tax credit equity from National Equity Fund, Inc.

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