Refuge Café on 7th Avenue served its final cup of coffee from the Melrose District location June 30 as it makes way for the Acacia Heights affordable housing complex (photo by Kathryn M. Miller).

Refuge Café on 7th Avenue, which greeted its first customer Oct. 16, 2013, served its final cup of coffee from the Melrose District location June 30 as it makes way for the Acacia Heights affordable housing complex. A social enterprise of Catholic Charities Community Services to “support services for our community’s most vulnerable,” the café will continue a legacy of service with an affiliate location inside Terminal 4 at Sky Harbor Airport. It will also continue roasting and selling its private label coffee online at

The Acacia Heights housing complex is a partnership with Trinity Housing Development of Springfield, Mo. and Catholic Charities Community Services affiliate, Housing of Hope (, that will serve low-income families.

The final two phases of Acacia Heights, located just south of Camelback Road on 7th Avenue, received final funding in May. The funding was part of an additional $35 million approved by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for the development of affordable housing units across the region and to facilitate homeownership through down payment assistance programs. The additional amount raises the total investment county-wide to $65 million.

In addition, to support home ownership, the County also approved $4,508,592 in down payment assistance in May. The initiative will fund approximately 128 future homeowners with $35,000 each in down payment assistance to purchase single-family homes within the county.

Construction at Acacia Heights will begin in the next several weeks on the 66-unit Phase Two and 68-unit Phase Three. The 1.22-acre parcel is being subdivided, with the Phase Two development consisting of approximately .74 acre of the total parcel. The project will have a focus on families and includes 21 one-bed, one-bath apartments of 583 square feet; 21 two-bed, one-bath apartments ranging from 822 to 824 square feet; 21 three-bed, 1.75-bath apartments ranging from 1,076 to 1,079 square feet; and 3 four-bed, 2-bath apartments ranging from 917 to 1,375 square feet. Fifty-seven of the 66 units are slated to be permanent affordable housing units.

Phase Three, a single five-story building will provide a mixture of 35 one-bed apartments, 18 two-bed apartments and 15 three-bed units. Units are targeted for families with incomes between 40% and 60% of median income. Rents will be affordable based on the household income, ranging from $600–$900 a month for a one-bedroom, $700-$1,100 for a two-bedroom and $800-$1,200 for a three-bedroom unit.

Amenities for both phases include a community room, outdoor courtyard, play area, sport court and community garden. The mid-town location is near the light rail, bus stops and shopping. Catholic Charities will also staff the community with resident services specialists who will assist residents in remaining housed by providing free and low-cost activities for children and families, community events, referrals for free local resources and a mobile food pantry.

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