LISC Phoenix’s investments spur double-digit population, buying power growth over a 10-year period

PHOENIX — Valley neighborhoods saw high population and retail buying power increases thanks to LISC Phoenix’s investments from 2008 to 2018.

The five investments were in Phoenix’s Sunnyslope, McDowell and Camelback neighborhoods, Mesa’s Main Street, and Tempe’s Apache Boulevard. LISC Phoenix invested more than $23 million in the Valley in 2017 alone.

“We’re proud of the results we’re seeing,” said Terry Benelli, LISC Phoenix’s executive director. “LISC was able to step in during the Great Recession when other investments dried up. Now the Valley has turned it around in an amazing way. We’re just glad we can make a difference in helping these communities grow.”

LISC Phoenix’s report “Impact 2008-2018” examined the effects of its investments on these neighborhoods over the 10-year period. The report found that the population increased in four neighborhoods, largely due to new affordable housing options. The Apache Boulevard trade area grew in population the most by 14 percent, and Main Street the second most by 11 percent. Sunnyslope and Camelback saw increases of 6 to 8 percent.

Working with local non-profit organizations and businesses were critical to achieving growth in the five neighborhoods over the past 10 years. LISC Phoenix’s key partners were Trellis, the International Rescue Committee in Phoenix, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) and State Farm.

“We’ve had tremendous success collaborating with the community over the past 10 years,” Benelli said. “We’re particularly proud of our work along Main Street in Mesa, where hundreds of new housing units have gone up, and there was a net zero loss of businesses during light rail construction. ArtSpace, an affordable housing complex for artists and their families, is the newest addition to the corridor and will be engaging with Main Street businesses.”

In addition to population increases, all five neighborhoods saw significant upticks in buying power, the report concluded. Total buying power – a leading indicator that residents have resources available to spend on retail – grew by as much as 84 percent in Camelback, 61 percent in Sunnyslope and 59 percent in Main Street. McDowell saw a 201 percent increase in the neighborhoods south of the corridor and 78 percent to the north.

“The Phoenix metropolitan area is projected to grow by almost 2 million people in the next 20 years,” Benelli said. “LISC Phoenix is going to play a crucial role in developing vibrant and safe neighborhoods around the Valley over these next two decades. And with greater investment from LISC and our partners, we can produce better and faster results for those we serve.”

LISC is a national organization with a community focus. LISC Phoenix was formed in 1992 to help revive blighted neighborhoods throughout metropolitan Phoenix. Working in collaboration with grassroots organizations and community partners, LISC Phoenix creates innovative solutions to problems faced by distressed, low-income neighborhoods.