affordable housing

Jessica Meszaros / WGCU News

There’s a neighborhood in Southwest Florida that’s changing the way people think about affordable housing. 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

The nonprofit group Habitat for Humanity is known for helping people fix up their property. But one South Florida branch is now facing its own problems with a fixer-upper.

Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore on Big Pine Key is a 6,000-foot showroom with everything from sofas to chandeliers – at very reasonable prices. 

Gina Jordan/WLRN

“Everything went well,” Jesse Scott said with relief as he walked out of his interview at CareerSource Capital Region, an employment and training center in Tallahassee.

“There's a lot of people that live on [the] edge. Many Floridians do base their livelihood on making a 40-hour work week each week,” Scott said. “If something interrupts that, you can fall between the cracks.”

Marge Giaimo makes her way to a picnic table under the shadow of an oak tree. Santa Barbara's trees, like its oceans and mountains, are one thing she says she never tires of here. After losing her senior housing three years ago, this table is where she does her painting these days.

"I feel very fortunate to have my car," Giaimo says. "It's a little cramped, but it's softer than cement."

Of all her once-valued possessions, today her 20-year-old, gold Oldsmobile is her most important one. It is her home, and she keeps it as neat as a pin.

Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson are sponsoring legislation requiring the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to survey tenants in low-income housing twice a year.

The bill is a response to living conditions at Jacksonville’s Eureka Gardens apartment complex and the Windsor Cove complex in Orlando.


Creative Commons via Flickr / User: Tax Credits (https://flic.kr/p/chEwR9)

Ernest Bellamy is an architectural designer and native Miamian. At 32-years-old, he decided to go back to school to get his master's degree, but decided that even with a full ride to the University of Miami opportunities looked better outside of Miami.

He is one of the many individuals who have been affected by the prosperity gap that has grown in Miami-Dade County since 2000. That’s the overarching finding of a study we reported on when it came out from the Florida International University Metropolitan Center.

Kara Dapena / Miami Herald

It appears some, actually many, condo associations in South Florida are over-charging people on fees. Nick Nehamas of the Miami Herald uncovered the story recently and talked to us about what he found: 

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  Key West voters in March rejected purchasing the Peary Court housing complex for $55 million.

The 157 two-bedroom townhomes were originally built as Navy housing, then sold in 2013.

Most of the people who live there live year-round in Key West and hold fulltime jobs — exactly the kind of person who has the hardest time finding a place to live on the island. Homes are snapped up by snowbirds and often rented in the offseason to tourists.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Clairemis Blan walks the gravel paths at the Little Farm trailer park with her cell phone in hand.

Neighbors wave hi to her and some stop her to list their grievances at the park, which is just East of Biscayne Boulevard in the Village of El Portal.

One neighbor tells her someone is breaking into empty trailers. Another warns  her of strangers milling about at strange hours.

“I love them,” she says of her neighbors.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

Key West voters Tuesday rejected public purchase of the Peary Court subdivision for $55 million.

Two referendum questions asking voters to authorize the purchase and issuing bonds for the purchase failed on Tuesday.

The 157-unit townhome neighborhood at the edge of Old Town was built by the Navy in the 1990s. Private developers bought it for $35 million in 2013.

City Commissioner Jimmy Weekley said Tuesday evening he was disappointed in the results. Weekley championed the purchase.

Nancy Klingener / WLRN

  When Richard Payne was campaigning for the Key West City Commission over the last few months, he kept hearing about one issue: affordable housing. It didn't surprise him.

"I have four kids. Three of them don't live here, and that's because they couldn't afford to buy a home here and raise their family here. So basically, they've moved away," said Payne, who won a commission seat earlier this month.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Residents of the Little Farm trailer park filed into El Portal Village Hall for a meeting Monday on how to find affordable housing options and other resources to move out.

The trailer park was sold earlier this year to Wealthy Delight’s LLC, a Coral Gables-based company. The new landowner gave residents a February deadline to leave the property.

Yolande Dorce, a 30-year resident of the trailer park, said she pays $450 a month to lease the land. She owns her trailer outright, but it can’t be moved and will likely be demolished.

Nadege Green / WLRN

Twelve-year old Abigail Alexandre lives in a cozy peach trailer in the Village of El Portal. 

Abigail, like many of the tenants left at the Little Farm trailer park at 8500 Biscayne Boulevard, is afraid she’s going to lose her home.

“My biggest worries are finding a new house and the problems of getting the money because my dad is the only one working,” she said.

Little Farm is one of the only places poor families can afford to live in the upper middle class neighborhood

Tom Hudson

Between a neighbor's leaf blower and planes overhead taking off from Miami International Airport, it's hard to hear Jorge Artiles describe the home on Northwest 34th Street.

Mike Mozart / Wikimedia Commons

Developers want to build what would be the biggest shopping center in the Florida Keys — 335,000 square feet — on the site of a former Rockland Key junkyard.

Walmart has signed a letter of intent to be the anchor tenant, and the store would probably employ about 200 people. The shopping center as a whole would employ 600.

Which leads to this question: Where are those workers earning retail wages supposed to live in the expensive Florida Keys?

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