According to University of Florida Shimberg Center, there are over 3,000 families living in St. Johns County who pay more than 50% of their income for rent. Last week, two non-profit organizations in St. Augustine purchased property that will preserve affordable rental opportunities for local families and seniors.
The St Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) purchased The Old Colony Apartments, an 8-unit apartment complex that will be added to their growing portfolio of sustainable, below-market rental property. Funding was provided by a combined partnership with the Florida Community Loan Fund and St. Johns County Housing Division. The Alpha-Omega Miracle Home purchased 4 condominium units with the help of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
For over 16 years, the SJHP has been an advocate and provider of energy-efficient, safe and healthy homes. The SJHP specializes in affordable housing solutions that include rental housing, emergency home repair services, energy-efficiency and accessibility retrofits and financial counseling in St. Johns and Clay Counties.
The apartments will be added to an existing SJHP portfolio of 26 single-family rental homes and a 60-unit complex for seniors. All properties are leased at below-market prices and the SJHP offer credits counseling for its tenants. Providing budget management, credit repair and financial planning along with reduced rents, creates a pathway to home ownership and financial security.
The Alpha Omega purchase will provide housing for young mothers and their children. There is a severe shortage of decent and affordable rental opportunities, especially for single parents, and the rental financing programs from the FHFC has opened the door for preserving these properties for 10-20 years.
St. Johns County is one of the wealthiest counties in Florida for both per capita income and median household income. Yet, there are 12,000 wage earners in St. Johns County earning an average income of $10.09/hour. Average rents for a 2 bedroom apartment requires an income of $17.98/hour to be affordable (30% of gross income).
A very informative study conducted by the the Florida Housing Coalition, “Home Matters” clearly states, “The health, safety and welfare of Floridians and the strength of Florida’s overall economy hinges on an adequate supply of affordable housing for Florida’s working families, elders and people with disabilities living on fixed incomes”.