City of Gainesville releases $7.2M to support construction of affordable housing

Press release from City of Gainesville

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The City of Gainesville is making available $7.2 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to help lower-income neighbors rent or buy affordable homes. In order to receive the funding, developers must commit to build subsidized homes or apartments for families with incomes at or below 65 percent of the Area Median Income or AMI for Gainesville (as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and adjusted for family size) for new rental units, and at or below 300 percent of the Gainesville Federal Poverty Level for for-sale units. 

The problem of finding housing that fits a lower-income budget has gotten more challenging in recent years. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports there are approximately 10.8 million extremely low-income families spread out across the country, but there are only about 3 million affordable homes. Every state and community is impacted, and the COVID-19 pandemic made the situation worse.

Gainesville City Commissioners first approved ARPA funds to build affordable housing when presented with the proposal at a General Policy Committee meeting in July 2022. The plan from Housing & Community Development Director Corey Harris earmarks $6 million for developers who agree to construct rental units and $1.2 million for those building single-family or multi-family homes for first-time buyers.

GRACE Marketplace Executive Director Jon DeCarmine says this initiative will make a substantial difference, particularly for neighbors who have fallen on hard times, lost their apartment or home, and who cannot get enough money together to reenter Gainesville’s rising housing market. DeCarmine calls the people who fall into this category “one-time homeless,” and he estimates they make up 80 percent of those helped by GRACE.   

“We ask people, ‘If housing was available to you that was affordable and met your needs, would you be interested in moving into that housing?’ And on average, 95 percent of people say, ‘Absolutely, if there was housing that was available and affordable, I would love to move into that housing,’” DeCarmine said.

Developers will be able to access the ARPA funding application on the Housing & Community Development page of the City’s website beginning on Thursday, Feb. 9. Applications must be submitted by 7 a.m. on Monday, March 6. Funding awards are subject to approval by the Gainesville City Commission and based on availability.

  • who would build or own a rental property that will have to be torn down in 10 yrs to tenat neglect?

  • Affordable housing in Gainesville? That’s pretty objective depending on who’s buying, or at least making the case for.

    Those who qualify will be determined subjectively by the Gainesville progressive leadership.

    Either way, the utility rates are crazy high in Gainesville – that’s reality.

  • Oh, ARPA funds! That’s why 3 sitting commissioners are still wearing masks…the money has to be associated with Covid in some way…
    “Never waste a good crisis”.

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