Sadly, the COVID 19 pandemic has set back the fight for affordable housing in Central Florida for the time being.
But as I examine the measures other communities around the country are taking during these tough times as they try to solve this challenge, they’re doing something that is never mentioned here in the Orlando area.
Remodeling existing properties to be used for affordable housing.
This is being done with much of the housing for struggling veterans in the United States. Instead of brand new properties, they’re remodeling old communities and making them fit for those who badly need to find a place to live.
Why isn’t this being done in Orlando?
There are a few theories, but the easiest one is developer greed.
Developers make more money building brand news communities. The problem is that they also don’t want the rent on these new units to be affordable. And then, there is the constant stigma that affordable housing carries within existing communities (looking at you Seminole County).
This greed removes a potentially valuable weapon from the arsenal Orlando has to fight affordable housing.
That shouldn’t be the way it is. But that’s reality.
Orlando leaders need to explore communities that could potentially be leveraged this way.
But they most likely won’t.
Developers are some of the biggest campaign donors in Central Florida. And they own our elected officials.
If that makes you feel frustrated, it should. I see remodeled properties being used for veterans around the country. I want that for Central Florida.
Right now, we have our hands full, but if we can keep building unaffordable housing during the pandemic, then we can at least explore some options to help our neighbors in need as well.