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Groundbreaking scheduled at site of affordable housing to be built on City’s surplus property

Press release from City of Gainesville

The City of Gainesville and community partners invite all neighbors to attend a groundbreaking ceremony in the Duval community. The event officially will mark the construction of 11 new affordable homes to be built by Alachua Habitat for Humanity on the City’s vacant, unused property.

When: 10 a.m. Monday, Jan. 31
Where: 1609 NE 9th Ave.
Who: 

  • Lauren Poe, Gainesville Mayor
  • Desmon Duncan-Walker, Gainesville City Commissioner (District 1)
  • Sarah Vidal, director of Gainesville Community Reinvestment Area
  • Scott Winzeler, Alachua Habitat for Humanity chief outreach and development officer
  • Neighborhood representatives and future homeowners

Alachua Habitat will sell the houses to income-eligible, first-time homeowners. Through an affordability requirement in the housing covenant, the properties will remain affordable in perpetuity if and when the houses are listed for sale by the homeowners.

The City’s Affordable Housing Property-Donation Pilot Program is designed to reduce the shortage of affordable housing in Gainesville, encourage neighborhood revitalization, and build wealth through homeownership.

Alachua Habitat is expected to complete construction on the first four homes within two years.
To help ensure public health and safety of all neighbors, attendees are asked to practice social distancing at the event.

  • This is a nice gesture and good cause. Especially for longtime workers with families or retired couples who deserve a place of their own. But we need a major shift in how we house young single adults, so they don’t make bad decisions while forced to live with others they’d rather not have to. And units they own, not more subsidized rentals as usual.

  • The city needs to quit holding self-congratulatory ribbon cuttings and spend that time learning why they are completely non-competitive in the affordable end of the housing development market. Gene, Jim & Roy eat their lunch every single day. Even with free land, essentially free labor and subsidized interest rates the city can’t compete with the value available beyond city limits and the GRU market. And basic economics says putting a pre-emptive cap on the sale value of a property will make it the last very house a person will want to buy or improve if they have any other options.

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