Broward to spend millions to help build affordable housing – South Florida Sun Sentinel

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Mar 01, 2022 4:38 PM

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More than 1,000 new apartments will be built across Broward to help low-income families — with rents expected to range from $700 to $1,850 a month.

The county will help subsidize the developments because otherwise they may never be built. County officials say without the financial help, housing only could become harder to find. The situation is “getting worse by the day,” said Ralph Stone, the county’s director of the Housing Finance Division.

  • 200 residences in a community that would be called Douglas Gardens VI, by Southwest 88th Avenue in Pembroke Pines. This will add to other Douglas Gardens buildings on the site, which are also affordable housing, Stone said.
  • 150 residences at St. Joseph Manor II, at Northwest Sixth Avenue in Pompano Beach.
  • 106 residences at Captiva Cove III, at Southwest 11th Drive off Dixie Highway in Pompano Beach.
  • 100 residences at Golden Acres Senior Housing, at Northwest 12th Drive in Pompano Beach.
  • 110 residences at Pinnacle 441 Phase 2, off Johnson Street in Hollywood.
  • 80 residences at Tallman Pines Phase I, at Northeast 38th Court in Deerfield Beach.
  • 76 residences at Griffin Gardens II, off Griffin Road in Davie.

Much of the money — $40 million — will come from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, also called the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, Stone said. Broward County will foot the remaining $7.2 million, he said.

The county will also help fund buying land for an additional $5 million to create 203 new apartments.

The land acquisition to assist developers with land they don’t yet own will be for Madison Park Senior Housing, off South Dixie Highway in Hollywood, at 103 units, and The Pantry Lofts, off Northwest Sixth Street in Fort Lauderdale, which will create 100 new units.

The government funding is imperative for developers because “if we didn’t, they could not be producing any units because literally the construction prices are much more expensive than the [rent] people can afford to pay,” Stone said.

Details on how to apply for the apartments aren’t yet available.

How much renters will pay for the new apartments will vary by family size, and only those with low income will qualify: The formula for the new apartments will be calculated so a family does not pay more than 30% of their income on rent, and some units set aside for varying factors of income.

For example, a family of four earning $26,500 might qualify for some units, but still qualify at an income of as much as $70,000 for another affordable unit.

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In South Florida, landlords are raising rents by as much as 40% percent, and wages have only increased about 6%, according to new statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor.

Commissioner Nan Rich called it an “extreme affordable housing crisis,” and the county’s efforts are “an extraordinary opportunity to provide 1,025 affordable units in Broward County. There’s tremendous need, much more than before the pandemic because we’ve had an increase in rent and cost of housing.”

She added, “There’s very little supply and people are struggling to find a place to live.”

As of 2018, the county was short of at least 147,000 affordable housing units, and “the next studies will be much worse,” Rich said.

The new residences are expected to be built by 2026.

Lisa J. Huriash can be reached at lhuriash@sunsentinel.com or 954-572-2008 or Twitter LisaHuriash