Neighbors in one Phoenix neighborhood are trying to block an affordable housing development they believe will attract more crime to the area.

Catholic Charities wants to demolish its offices near 19th Avenue and Northern Avenue to build 64 apartment units for low-income families and individuals.

A Royal Palm neighborhood group has learned Catholic Charities has applied for state funding that comes with an obligation to house some chronically homeless and mentally ill.

“The state would like to see nonprofits like Catholic Charities try to house the most vulnerable so we've made ourselves available,” says Steve Capobres with Catholic Charities. “We're not just a typical landlord. We have plenty of support services to really work with these families.”

Capobres says the proposed housing would be safe and secure and include surveillance cameras.

Some neighbors hope the development will help clean up the streets. Others are worried they will see more transients.

“I see them in my allies. I see them in the garbage. I’ve had them on my rooftops," says neighbor Mary Jo Batroff. “And it's not because I don’t want it in my backyard, it's because we already have it in our backyard.”

“I'm sure that they will have sponsors, that they'll have counselors and people working with them closely,” says neighbor Ann Huffman. “So give them a chance."

The Arizona Department of Housing refused to comment on the Catholic Charities application for funding. A spokesman also refused to discuss the terms of such funding including what percentage of the property would have to be dedicated to the chronically homeless and mentally ill.

Capobres says he should learn by the end of the month whether Catholic Charities will be awarded state funds.

The head of the Royal Palm neighborhood group met with Catholic Charities Tuesday morning and described the meeting as “productive.” Capobres says Catholic Charities will include the neighborhood in the design process but said zoning allows for a four-story complex.

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