JPMorgan Chase announced a $5 million award Thursday that will build 450 affordable housing units in Central Florida.
The money will be used to come up with creative solutions to Central Florida’s affordable housing crisis, where one in 50 Central Florida families, including one in 17 children, experience homelessness each year, according to a 2015 report by the Central Florida Commission on Homelessness. Many of these families end up living in hotels or motels, doubling up with other families, or in homeless shelters.
“Central Florida has one of the nation’s highest rates of cost-burdened renters and the greatest shortage of affordable housing,” said Mel Martinez, chairman of the Southeast for JPMorgan Chase. “The recent national disaster in Puerto Rico will only make our current problems with housing pale in comparison. Orlando will be the number one community they will come to in Florida. This will only make affordable housing more of a necessity.”
Martinez said that Central Florida was chosen because of its lack of affordable housing but also because of the cooperation between local officials.
“To effectively address Central Florida’s inadequate supply of affordable housing, the solutions must be implemented at the regional level,”said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. “We must continue to work together as a collaborative marketplace,”
The three-year investment will allow the Florida Community Loan Fund and New Jersey Community Capital to develop multifamily rental apartment complexes using repurposed shipping containers. The low-interest loans will also allow nonprofits to bulk purchase foreclosed properties and rehabilitate them for affordable rental housing. A third priority will be to finance the acquisition and renovation of existing multifamily properties to preserve affordability.
The $5 million can be leveraged to four times its value for capital improvement projects, said Ignacio Esteban, CEO of Florida Community Loan Fund, which will serve as the fiscal manager of the program.
New Jersey Community Capital will purchase properties and work with local non-profits to rehabilitate them. It will also partner with local developer Crisis Housing Solutions to identify and purchase land to build new multifamily rental complexes.
“Without a healthy housing market, social disruptions of moving and finding homes leads to generations of poverty,” said Wayne T. Meyer, president of New Jersey Community Capital. “These homes will put people on a pathway to better lives and higher earnings.”