What happens after the projects get torn down?
What happens when the Orlando Housing Authority gets the green light to tear down the public housing projects at Griffin Park, Murchison Terrace, Lake Mann, Ivey Lane and Reeves Terrace and Lorna Doone?
Residents will be given vouchers they can present to private landlords (which may or may not be accepted if the reimbursement is enough) and then if new housing is built on the site of the projects, they could return later.
The situation for present public housing residents is further complicated because Orlando is experiencing a catastrophic shortage of affordable housing – the worst in the nation. A recent report says Central Florida needs more than 115,000 units of affordable housing.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development’s strategy
has changed from running and providing public housing to "helping HUD-assisted families achieve self-sufficiency" according to HUD chief Ben Carson.
Carson’s comment comes at a time when HUD's overall funding is being slashed leaving a backlog of $26 billion to rehabilitate over 1.3 million public housing units.
Under HUD rules, the Federal Government will not pay for rehabilitation that costs more than 54% of the price tag of demolishing and rebuilding the housing.
Despite rising construction costs, this leaves many of these properties likely to be torn down over the next ten years increasing the burden of affordable housing on Orlando.
Local Housing Authority officials feel as though their hands are tied on the issue. Once the Orlando Housing Authority’s largest and oldest projects are demolished, they hope to use state tax credits and other options to help house needy people.
As detailed in a previous 32805OrlNEWS article, as of 2014, the average median income in Parramore was $13,613.
Under HUD’s definition of affordable, any rent higher than $340.32 is too expensive. Most of the “affordable” units being built in Parramore will rent for more than $600.
With a severe housing shortage and thousands moving in the Orlando area every week, it is unclear where the 1,000 or so residents will relocate or if they will be able to afford to return to their neighborhoods.
Construction of the downtown campus for the University of Central Florida and Valencia College, downtown development and other factors are driving up housing prices in Parramore – a historically black community – making it too expensive for many long-term residents to remain.
This Wednesday (4/17) at 6:30 p.m. a meeting will be held at the Jackson Neighborhood Center to discuss how many units of affordable housing will be included at Parramore Oaks, being built on the site of the former Parramore Village.
This exclusive report was written by 32805OrlNEWS.com Correspondent Alex Gurtis.