State OKs $35M for Housing
The Florida Housing Finance Corporation Board of Directors has unanimously approved funding four workforce housing projects in Monroe County, as part of a housing strategy implemented after Hurricane Irma.
In July, the Florida Finance Housing Corp. started an application process, offering $25 million of the Rebuild Florida Workforce Housing Program for the construction of workforce housing in Monroe County. The agency added an additional $10 million in funding for acquiring land for those developments that help address the unmet workforce housing need, agency spokeswoman Taylore Maxey said.
“Monroe County was devastated by Hurricane Irma, but by working together, we’re continuing to rebuild the community stronger than before,” Gov. Ron DeSantis stated in a prepared statement. “With this funding for four developments, Monroe County takes another positive step in the rebuilding process. The community has demonstrated incredible resilience and my administration remains committed to assisting in recovery efforts.”
Florida Housing’s board took decisive action to further assist those in Monroe County and its housing stock, “where Hurricane Irma struck the hardest,” said Florida Housing Executive Director Trey Price said.
“We are grateful to the Governor and the Department of Economic Opportunity for partnering with us to continue our commitment of providing safe, decent, affordable housing to the citizens of Florida,” Price said.
Construction of new, quality and resilient affordable housing is critical to the economic recovery of areas impacted by Hurricane Irma, said Executive Director of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Ken Lawson, who also sits on the board.
“We are proud of the work Florida Housing Finance Corporation has done to quickly award developers through the Rebuild Florida Workforce Housing Program and begin the much needed work of building homes in these communities,” Lawson said.
The four projects were put forward by the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners, the Monroe County Housing Authority, the Housing Authority of the City of Key West and the Seahorse Cottages Big Pine Key, LLC.
“The county will add 37 units of workforce rental housing for low-income households earning up to 80 percent of the area median income for the county,” said Juanita Jones, Housing Recovery Administrator for the County. “For a single-person household, this means a maximum household income of $53,600 and a maximum one-bedroom rental rate of $1,435.”
Monroe County’s proposed developments include five units on Key Largo, which may be substituted elsewhere, 10 units on Conch Key, 10 units at Howard’s Haven on Big Pine Key, and 12 scattered site units on Big Pine Key and Little Torch Key.
“We are thrilled with this news, as this is a culmination of many agencies working together to develop new affordable housing after Irma,” Assistant County Administrator Christine Hurley said.
The City of Key West proposed 103 new apartment units on College Road, and Seahorse Cottages has 17 units at the Seahorse Trailer Park on Big Pine Key.
The housing program was first announced by Gov. DeSantis in May. Florida Housing has partnered with the Department of Economic Opportunity providing funding for the construction of new affordable workforce housing to help address housing shortages worsened by Hurricane Irma. Florida Housing launched a competitive application cycle in June.
The funding comes through a partnership between DEO and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, using federal funding for Florida’s long-term disaster recovery efforts. For information on Florida Housing, visit the agency’s website at http://www.floridahousing.org.