The Pascua Yaqui Housing Division endeavors to provide all Tribal members the opportunity to have an affordable and safe home to enhance the economic stability of the Tribe and its members. (Courtesy of Pascua Yaqui Tribe via Tucson.com)
Tribes can use master planning to their strategic benefit. Housing communities are symbiotic in nature — they create a workforce and attract local businesses that provide jobs.
When residents live and work in their communities, they recirculate dollars locally rather than leaking money to border towns. Economy requires a dollar exchange hands seven times over before leaving that community. Master-planned villages create infrastructure that attracts residents, businesses and employees that fuel economies.
So the Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s first master-planned community coming to its reservation southwest of Tucson means more than just housing. Dubbed Yaqui Square, it’s an economic vision for a sustainable and thriving community.
The Tribe’s housing department is putting a $19.5 million grant from the Arizona Department of Housing Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program to develop phase one of a master-planned community: Itom Pohco’oria Kari’m (Our Desert Homes), featuring 50-single family, mixed-income homes with two-, three- and four-bedroom models. The modern, smart-homes will offer solar capability. Currently, 1,200 families are on a waiting list for a home on the reservation.
“Giving Tribal members of all income levels the opportunity to purchase a house means more of our members will reside on the reservation and will continue to give back to the community,” said Tribal Chairman Peter S. Yucupicio.
Second and third phases of Yaqui Square development may entail high-rise construction with retail, office and residential space, as well as parks. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe aims to secure financing for next phases of the development within five years. Construction will commence early next year, and Yaqui Square is slated for completion by 2023.