Rural Housing Symposium To Address Arizona’s Multiple Housing Challenges

January 2, 2022

By Terri Jo Neff |

The Arizona Association for Economic Development (AAED) will host a two-day virtual Rural Housing Symposium later this month, bringing together developers, citizens, elected officials, and myriad stakeholders to address the challenges facing rural housing in Arizona.

The Jan. 12 and 13 virtual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. each day on the Whova platform. There is a $60 registration fee for the event, which will include a discussion of the current state of rural housing, the overall importance of housing to a community, housing programs and resources, community and regional solutions, how to leverage data, and workforce housing.

Among the Day One speakers is Evelyn Causga, director of community and economic prosperity for the Center for the Future of Arizona. She will be joined by Tim Suan, deputy town manager for the Town of Wickenburg, to discuss the current state of rural housing in Arizona.

“Housing is playing a pivotal role in the overall economic success of every community,” Suan says. “This makes housing the most important topic in the state of Arizona.”  

Day One’s keynote speaker will be Mary Chicoine of the Verde Valley Economic Council. She will lead a discussion with Jennifer Perry of the Arizona Community Foundation on turning data into action for community and regional solutions. They will be joined by officials from Clarksdale, Cottonwood, and Sedona. 

Tom Simplot, director of the Arizona Department of Housing, will provide the Day Two keynote speech about the importance of housing. Other Day Two participants will be Thomas Ryan of Housing America Corp.; Jeff Hays with USDA Rural Development; Sarah Darr from the city of Flagstaff; and Devonna McLaughlin of Housing Solutions of Northern Arizona.

Also announced as participating in the symposium are Alison Cook-Davis of the ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Joan Serviss with AZ Housing Coalition; Sandi Flores of Catholic Charities; Jerry Stabley with AZ American Planning Association; Sheila Harris of Harris Consulting; Mark Lambing for Dominium Apartments; Rick Merritt and Daniel Court of Elliot D Pollack & Company; Kim Covington with Arizona Community Foundation; Ruby Dhillon-Williams from Arizona Department of Housing; and Sally Schween of Gorman & Co. 

Additional information about AAED’s virtual Rural Housing Symposium is available at

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