Pregnant Phoenix Mom Finds Safe Home in UMOM’s New Affordable Housing Complex

By Jessica Swarner

February 17, 2023

The new complex offers 60 units for families at or below 60% of the Phoenix area’s median income. 

Phoenix native Sabrae Hughes and her family found themselves without a home for about a year during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hughes told The Copper Courier she stepped away from her job working with children while she was pregnant out of concern for her, the baby’s, and her family’s health. 

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She, her husband, and her three children eventually had to resort to living in a car for about two weeks in a Walmart parking lot. 

After Hughes reached out to her child’s school to ask for help, the school recommended getting in touch with UMOM New Day Centers. The nonprofit connected with the Hughes family and placed them in their Family Housing Hub in September. 

Now the Hughes family is living in UMOM’s newest affordable housing community, Newsom Village, in south Phoenix. 

Newsom Village entrance in south Phoenix (photo by Jessica Swarner)

“It’s just a breath of fresh air,” Hughes said of her new home. “Me and my family, we have somewhere stable where we can call home. I’ve never seen my children more excited to have somewhere to be.” 

Hughes said the experience so far has been “stressless.” She and her family moved in shortly after Christmas and enjoyed spending time during the holidays together. 

“It allows us to sleep at night, have a sense of safety, just being together, being able to cook in the kitchen and get whatever I want to eat, it just means a lot,” Hughes said. “People don’t appreciate it until it’s actually gone.” 

Affordable Rent

The complex near Ninth Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard, named Newsom Village after the nonprofit’s former CEO Darlene Newsom, has 60 two- and three-bedroom units for families earning at or below 60% of the area median income. For example, a family of four would have to make about $53,000 or less to qualify. 

The 956-square-foot two-bedroom unit rents for $722-$1,119—the price depends on each family’s income—while the 1,242-square-foot three-bedroom is listed for $832-$1,291. The prices include water, trash, and sewer utilities. 

A bedroom inside an apartment unit at Newsom Village (photo by Jessica Swarner)

This is a steep saving from market rate rents. According to the latest data from the Maricopa Association of Governments, the median rent in the county for a two-bedroom is $1,733 and $2,168 for a three-bedroom. 

Each unit has its own washer and dryer. The complex also offers a playground, barbecue area, computer lab, community room, and onsite parking. 

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CVS invested $12 million in the project with Raymond James Affordable Housing Investments. The pharmacy retailer operates a mobile RV that brings free healthcare screenings to underserved communities in Phoenix. The RV was onsite for UMOM residents during the complex’s grand opening. 

UMOM operates nine other affordable housing communities. A complex down the street from Newsom Village will open this summer, while another is in development for 2024. 

People in need of shelter and support services can find resources and contact information on UMOM’s website

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Author

  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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