Central Florida leaders stress innovation, equity, and partnership are key to overcoming affordable housing challenges

In Orange County, the average monthly rent now sits at $ 1,650 per month, a figure that has increased by 23.7% zinc 2019according to data compiled by the Washington Post.

With this housing price hike among the largest in America, a group of leaders from the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors convened this week for a virtual roundtable discuss a range of potential solutions.

Convened by Heart of Florida United Way Senior Vice President for Community Relations and Equity Impact Nancy Alvarezroundtable participants included Orlando Mayor Buddy DyerOrlando Housing Authority President and CEO Vivian BryantWendover Housing Partners Managing Director Ryan von Wellerand Rhino Co-Founder and CEO The parable of Sarva.

In the opening of the event, Alvarez highlighted the magnitude of housing-related challenges facing Central Florida residents, noting that over 40% of calls into United Way’s Orlando 2-1-1 crisis call line from January of 2022 through today and affordability issues.

Central Florida’s evolving status as an incredibly desirable location to live, raise a family, and business has created challenges and opportunities for the community.

In framing the economics of the multifamily development and management industry, he spoke about how firms require capital to operate, but also emphasized that they are providing a “public service.” With owners and occupiers of the market, it is not possible to bring this up to date, but in many cases rentals.

In terms of investment, Dyer flagged the fact that Orlando has invested $ 43 million to create and preserve “housing options,” though more recently, “COVID has taken a steep toll.”

While, the Mayor’s accounting, it has been typical for renters to experience a 3-5% annual increase in cost, the 20-30% to paycheck. ” That’s why the city has focused on innovation to address housing challenges such as the recently-launched pilot program that rebates building fees for affordable-housing projects. The project is funded from excess revenue coming from construction projects across the city.

How the community works, including what it does best – may be driven by private sector collaboration.

One such example, as presented by Sarva, was security deposit insurance, is offered in Florida and in 2 million rental homes nationwide by his firm, Rhino.

According to Sarva, with $ 45 billion sitting in Florida and Rhino’s insurance alone, Rhino’s insurance, which protects property owners, has the “goal and opportunity to give $ 45 billion to renters” at a time when they need it most. ”

Both Dyer and Bryant spoke about the inextricable link between housing accessibility challenges and transportation issues.

Through the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan, the Greater Orlando area has been able to deploy nearly $ 15 million in rental assistance to support 2,000 families.

However, Dyer was equally bullish on the impact of the Bipartisan Infrastructure law’s investment and associated local proposals. Bryant spoke about a number of families in her staff’s caseload who wants to work night shift jobs, but lack safe, reliable transportation to facilitate earning income in this way.

In closing the session, von Weller spoke about the importance of government incentives – “carrots and sticks,” to encourage the construction of more affordable housing stock.

Von Weller’s organization, Wendover Housing partners, was recently awarded the largest affordable housing project in Florida history alongside Universal Studios.

Housing for Tomorrow Orlando’s critical need for affordable housing is creating an innovative and economically diverse housing option. Universal pledged 20 acres of prime land in the heart of Orlando’s tourist corridor to be used for 1,000 units of affordable / mixed-income housing.

Alvarez noted that this group would be reconvened moving forward in terms of further investment and incubation of further solutions.

To watch the session, click on the image below:

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