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New affordable housing under construction in East Gainesville on City’s vacant land

Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe (sixth from right) joins fellow city commissioners and community leaders at a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate new affordable housing in East Gainesville.

Press release from City of Gainesville

Officials from the City of Gainesville and Alachua Habitat for Humanity celebrated the addition of new, affordable housing in East Gainesville at a groundbreaking ceremony today with community leaders and guests. The event launched the City’s Affordable Housing Property-Donation Pilot Program, turning its unused lots in the Duval community into 11 new homes for low-income neighbors.

“The city is excited to partner with Alachua Habitat to help provide new quality affordable housing for 11 families in the Greater Duval Neighborhood,” said Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe. “These homes will help bring a great quality of life to both the families who live in them as well as the surrounding neighborhood. Abundant housing is the solution to the affordable housing crisis, and today is one step closer to bridging the gap,” he said.

As part of its commitment to reduce the shortage of affordable housing in Gainesville, the City will ensure costs of the single-family homes remain permanently affordable. An affordability requirement in its housing covenant restricts current and future sales to income-qualified purchasers. 

“This is the future home for a deserving family,” said Gainesville Commissioner Desmon Duncan-Walker, gesturing to nearby Alachua Habitat volunteers at work building the first house. “This is the sound of revitalization,” she said.

This month, the City transferred ownership of the first four lots to Alachua Habitat, with construction of four houses in the Duval community to be completed within two years. The nonprofit developer then will sell the 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom houses to first-time homeowners who, among other qualifications, invest in “sweat equity” by building their homes.

“We are happy these homes will not only benefit the future homeowners living in them, but also contribute to the ongoing investments being made in that community,” said Alachua Habitat’s Chief Outreach and Development Officer Scott Winzeler.

Neighbors with household incomes no greater than 80 percent of the area median income (as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and adjusted for family size) may qualify to purchase any of the affordable homes. In Gainesville, a family of four whose annual income does not exceed $58,550 may qualify, while the income limit for a single applicant would equal $41,000.

“We’re helping to bring homeownership opportunities to 11 new families,” said Helen Harris, the City’s Office of Housing & Community Development supervisor. “This pilot program will help stabilize and revitalize the neighborhood and build wealth for first time homebuyers,” she said.

The affordable housing covenant also requires owner occupancy of the new homes.

“I was born and raised in Gainesville, and I am so grateful the City is building up this area,” said Ashley Burke, a future homeowner of one of the affordable houses in the Duval community. “I want to pass the house on to my daughter one day.”

In addition, the City’s Public Works department will build a new stormwater management facility in the Duval neighborhood and extend NE 9th Avenue to the east to create roadway access for several of the new homes.

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