AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS SUCCESS STORIES IN BROWARD COUNTY
What do most people think when they hear the words “affordable” housing and/or homelessness? Do they envision high rise projects, blighted neighborhoods, poverty, or a disheveled person pushing a shopping cart, sleeping on a public bench, or the substance abuser? Those of us who work in affordable housing and homelessness know that these misperceptions are far from the true portrait of affordable housing and homelessness.
As part of this annual report, we have highlighted several affordable housing projects and success stories. These stories represent a small sample of the exciting work being done in Broward County to create quality, permanent and affordable housing opportunities to meet the needs of lower income individuals and families and/or the homeless population some of whom contend with mental and physical disabilities.
With the continued funding and support of many of these federal and state programs, individuals and families are steadily making their way to self-sufficiency and homeownership.
BROWARD COUNTY HOUSING AUTHORITY (BCHA)
Everglades Heights, Fort Lauderdale, FL
received more than $1million in Community Development Block Grant, Disaster Recovery Initiative (CDBG-DRI) funds during the past year. The funds were used to make significant improvements to several of the multi-family properties owned by the BCHA. Everglades Heights, a family public housing community, had its defective shingled roof replaced with a highly energy efficient and durable metal roof. The allocation of Disaster Recovery Initiative funds allowed BCHA to make many of its properties safer for the families that live there.
A new roof, impact windows, and a gas generator were among the improvements at Griffin Gardens, a senior housing site. Upgrades to windows, doors, and screens at College Gardens increased security and wind resistance.
Griffin Gardens, Davie, FL
The Broward County Housing Authority hosted a Housing Choice Voucher Family Self- Sufficiency (FSS) Graduation Ceremony in October 2012. The celebration to publicly recognize families that successfully completed their program contract during the year was held at the African American Research Library. BCHA had 142 active participants in the voluntary program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A total of nine families graduated in fiscal year 2011-2012, and of those five families used savings accumulated while participating in the program to achieve their goal of homeownership. The FSS has proven to be very successful in helping low-income families build assets.
As participants increase their income their rents go up; and while they still have to pay a higher rent, an amount equal to the increase in rent is deposited into participants’ escrow accounts. Escrow accounts are instrumental in helping FSS graduates pursue the dream of purchasing a home. Families have up to five years to participate in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. They are assisted through case management, training, education, and referrals to supportive services. All of the supports are intended to help families build assets and become independent of public assistance.
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