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  • Pima County program manager receives state Housing Hero Award

    Sep 12, 2014 | Read More News
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    Gary Bachman, a program manager in the Pima County Community Development and Neighborhood Conservation Department (CDNC), has received a 2014 Housing Hero Award from the Arizona Department of Housing.

    Gary BachmanBachman received the Arthur Cozier Partner in Housing Award, which celebrates the single action or a lifetime of success of an individual committed to improving the lives of families and the health of communities through recognition that decent, affordable housing is basic to our social fabric.

    He received the award on Friday, Sept. 12, at the 2014 Arizona Housing Forum at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort in Tucson.

    Bachman has been an advocate for affordable housing and community development planning in southern Arizona for nearly 30 years, including the last 20 as a manager of CDNC housing and community programs.

    Most recently, he was the chief architect of a coalition led by Pima County and including the cities of Tucson and South Tucson and five local nonprofit agencies and author of its top scoring application for a successful $22 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

    The grant was used for acquisition and rehabilitation of vacant, foreclosed properties for rent or sale to first-time homebuyers, financial assistance to first-time homebuyers, development of new multifamily rental properties, land banking for future housing development, and a community land trust model for homeownership.

    More than 160 low-income households were assisted in the purchase of their first homes, and 50 houses were acquired and rehabilitated into safe, energy efficient and affordable homes.

    Income from the projects was “recycled” into additional grants and investments from each partner, which leveraged the $22 million grant into a nearly $40 million economic stimulus to the local housing market.

    “Gary had a vision: to revitalize the most destabilized neighborhoods hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis throughout Pima County,” Peggy Hutchison, CEO of the Primavera Foundation, said in her nomination.

    “We owe Gary Bachman and Pima County our deep gratitude for their partnership and for Gary’s vision and commitment to bring us together, provide financial resources and technical support improving the health and well-being of families and neighborhoods across Pima County today and for years to come.”

    In addition, Bachman played a key role in a number of innovative projects including:
    • Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan – Bachman was a lead author and staunch advocate of the award-winning land conservation plan adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1998 and supported by voters with over $200 million of bond funding, which now protects over 230,000 acres through careful consideration of environment, culture, and responsible development practices. 
    • The Curley School – Bachman was key in forming a 2007 partnership with the International Sonoran Desert Alliance to rehabilitate a decaying, vacant, historic school into 30 live/work loft spaces for artists in Ajo, Arizona. The downtown economic development project has been a catalyst to additional investments in the somewhat remote but bustling town. 
    • Las Abuelitas Housing and Community Center – To address the well-publicized increase in the number of children and teens being raised by their grandparents, Bachman was a driving force in Pima County’s investment in what became a 12-unit LEED Platinum multi-family project serving low-income, multigenerational households in South Tucson. 
    • Pay for Success -- Bachman served on a community-based steering committee that pursued the introduction of Social Investment Bonds, designed to garner private support for critical programs that deliver measureable results as well as direct cost savings to Pima County. Working with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, Bachman coordinated a Federal Reserve conference in Tucson that resulted in Pima County announcing its Pay for Success initiative, the first such model in the state of Arizona. 
    Bachman has twice served as president of the National Association for County Community and Economic Development (NACCED), the largest and most respected organization for professionals working in county governments, and brought NACCED’s national conference to Pima County in both 2007 and 2013.

    “The breadth of his expertise and service is staggering and spans the more technical skills of comprehensive planning and the softer skills of grant writing and coalition building,” Margaret Kish, director of CDNC, in her nomination of Bachman.

    “While his focus has been on housing, Mr. Bachman also recognizes the underlying economic factors that go beyond simple supply and demand explanations of housing affordability. As he is well known for pointing out – housing cannot be affordable unless household earnings are adequate and sustainable. Thus, he has been and continues to be a champion of economic justice for the too-often overlooked working poor of Pima County.”