A long blue ribbon stretched out in front of a newly renovated housing unit as Gainesville community members celebrated the success of their project.
Family Promise of Gainesville, a shelter and housing program for families who have experienced homelessness, and Rebuilding Together North Central Florida, a home repair program for homeowners with lower income, officially opened their affordable multi-family housing quad Friday morning.
The one-building property, located at 4327 SW 71st Terrace, includes four units, two of which are ready for tenants to move in Feb. 1, said Shari Jones, the program director of Family Promise of Gainesville. The complex features a red brick exterior and a renovated interior, with marble kitchen countertops and quality donated furniture.
The units are for the families that are part of the Family Promise of Gainesville programs.
Low-income housing is hard to come by in the city and Alachua County, Jones said. The purpose of these units is to help families and promote closer family relationships. Mothers in the Family Promise program often work two or three jobs to make ends meet, limiting the time they can spend with their children.
While some units in the county charge more than $1,000 for a two-bedroom apartment, the rent at Family Promise housing costs around $650.
“These families are not looking for a handout; they're looking for a hand up,” Jones said. “We're hoping that through our projects that we can empower these families so that we can break this cycle of survival and change into a cycle of thriving.”
The TD Charitable Foundation, which is part of the TD Bank, donated $125,000 toward purchasing and renovating the property, said Jayne Moraski, the executive director of Family Promise of Gainesville. Other local funders include First Federal Bank and the Alachua County CARES grant for shelter renovation.
In the United States, there isn't one metropolitan area where the minimum wage allows you to have affordable housing, according to U.S. & World Report News.
“There's no way to work full time and actually afford a place to live in Gainesville if you're making minimum wage,” Moraski said.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought on further financial hardships for many people, leaving more people housing insecure. Once the federal eviction moratorium expires in March, there will likely be an uptick of evictions, Moraski said.
Family Promise of Gainesville and Rebuilding Together North Central Florida plan to continue their partnership to create more affordable housing opportunities in the future.
“It takes a village to do this kind of thing, and that's what we had, just a whole community supporting what we do,” Moraski said.
Contact Michelle Holder at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @michellecholder.
Michelle Holder is a second-year journalism student at UF minoring in entrepreneurship and a Metro reporter at The Alligator. She is from Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In her free time she enjoys going to coffee shops and reading.