The VOICE of housing

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs spearheaded a second Regional Affordable Housing Workshop hosted by Osceola County on Oct. 18 at the Osceola Board of County Commissioners Chambers. The workshop explored creative affordable housing types and showcased various affordable housing products built throughout the state. Attendees also had the opportunity of viewing a model of a tiny home on display at the Osceola County Administration’s courtyard.

“The lack of affordable housing affects our entire nation,” Mayor Jacobs said. “According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, there is not a single state in the U.S. where a full-time minimum wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment at the fair market rent. Not one. Locally, and like many communities throughout the nation, we’ve seen this problem intensify since the end of the recession.”

A regional approach is imperative to exploring affordable housing solutions in Central Florida. Two years ago, Mayor Jacobs convened partners from Orange, Seminole, Osceola County, and the City of Orlando to engage in this important regional initiative. From private sector developers to government planners, the finance and banking industries, academia and the social services sector, the tri-county area is committed to a collaborative affordable housing approach.

The workshop highlighted different affordable housing products, local government experience and strategies and insight from the private sector.

“There’s a fundamental mismatch on what’s out there in the market and what the actual needs are,” said Susan Caswell, assistant community development administrator of Osceola County. “We need more affordable housing – and by encouraging a variety of housing types for different household compositions and different incomes, we should be able to increase affordable housing options.”

One challenge is that builders think bigger is always better. For example, in 1950, the average home size was 983 square feet. Today, that has grown to 2,600-square-foot, and there are fewer people living in the home per square foot.

Orange County Planning Manager Alberto Vargas spoke about affordable housing trends and how neighborhoods could still be affordable and preserve the neighborhood’s character. He stressed the importance of affordable housing and its proximity to transit, services, jobs, schools, and daycares. Additionally, Vargas highlighted Orange County’s new Orange Code, which represents a radically simplified and sustainable way to govern how land is developed.

“From co-housing models to innovative design, as well as the use of imaginative products and building concepts, we have the chance to make history by creating a marketplace with a variety of high-quality affordable housing options,” said Vargas.

There should be enough affordable housing options in the inventory to meet the market demand. Regional partners will continue to tackle this issue in the final workshop planned for the first quarter of 2018 with the location announced at later date.  To view the presentations and a video of the workshop, visit www.ocfl.net/HousingWorkshop.

9 COMMENTS

  1. That house looks like what we knew, where I grew up, as “shotgun houses”, except they look a little more decorative, and newer. Shotgun, because they were tiny looking from the front, but long and straight like a shotgun barrel.

  2. I keep seeing these tiny houses on many different sites, but just try to find a municipality that would welcome them…..they all claim they want affordable housing for people, but they prefer expensive high priced homes to draw in more property taxes.

  3. Renninger’s Market actually has some “sheds” made from wood, with wrap around decks, windows, roof pitches, etc. that if they had sinks and toilets with running water and electrical, would serve as affordable housing. I bet you couldn’t find one municipality, that would allow them, or out in the county either, to live in, even with utilities and proper sewer hookups.

  4. We have seen plenty of these different models of small homes, but tell me where can one be brought in, and installed? I get that they don’t mix next to big expensive homes, but where even off to themselves are they welcomed? I also have seen the price tag on some of these tiny houses, and honestly, a person could shop around and find a used home way bigger, for that same price. That is not affordable. That is getting a nice big price for not much house, and that isn’t going to help lower income people at all.

  5. Osceola is putting a moratorium on new home development for six months, in order to re-evaluate their fees, and make some amendments to their building requirements. It was in the Orlando Sentinel today. However, they just recently approved their largest development yet, that will be 20,000 acres!!! OMG. It appears that they let the horse escape out of the barn, THEN nailed the barn door shut! Allowing that much development, then in turn, vote in a moratorium….so crazy! To me, that is going from one extreme to another. This building boom driven from the developers of Lake Nona, and don’t forget, we have some sitting on our own Apopka City Council, that wants our city to be like Lake Nona, they admire Lake Nona…..dear god, I can only imagine trying to drive around this city then!!! Then we have another, who thinks that we “have to compete” with other cities for development, one of the current candidates for Apopka City Council….please…. No, we don’t have to compete! Enough, as it is, is coming! It looks like all we have to do is sit right here, and in the blink of eye, we will be swallowed alive by homes anyway, and we will be just another “Villages”….or another “Lake Nona” with a different name…….

  6. Another person killed by the Sun Rail train in Orlando yesterday morning. This one not long after one killed in Longwood on a bike recently, and not too long after two women were killed on the tracks also, that was deemed suicides. I have to wonder about whether it was suicide, or not. The trains are dangerous to drivers, people on foot, and bikers! I was sitting at Kappy’s on 17-92 waiting on my husband to get us a sub sandwich, at the walk-up window, when one of those trains came flying by and I was sitting there in the truck near the railroad crossing, and I witnessed just how fast they approach, and it flew by and sent chills down my back. Anybody caught there on that crossing with the train coming that fast….OMG!

  7. I wish Mt. Dora would loosen the rules, and allow dogs at the Craft Festival coming up this coming weekend. I like to take my little dog with me in his stroller. They allow dogs at Lake Eola at the big fall festival, and at Longwood Craft Festival, plus the Winter Park Saturday Farmer’s Market, and also Lake Lilly. They need to get with it, as Disney is now allowing dogs at their pricey hotels. We even take my little dog with us to the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, and he sits on my lap, while I play, and Mt. Dora festival is all outside!

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