Daytona Beach, Gainesville and Orlando will each receive $500K, three metros out of only 14 selected by HUD for affordable housing grants.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $7 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to 14 communities across America – and three of those 14 are in Florida: Daytona Beach, Gainesville and Orlando.
Each metro will receive a $500,000 grant to create a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan. The goal is to redevelop severely distressed public housing, improve outcomes for residents, and bring new amenities to high-poverty neighborhoods.
Increased appropriations and a renewed national interest fuel the program’s expansion this year. It’s the largest release of new Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants since 2012, and the 14 cities were selected from a pool of 28 applications. The complete award list is posted on HUD’s website.
“Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants represent HUD’s commitment to creating new housing across the country,” says HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “This federal investment builds the momentum neighborhoods need to make the big, impactful changes that will benefit residents and communities.”
The Choice Neighborhoods program has a three-pronged “Housing, People, and Neighborhood” approach. Money can be used to redevelop distressed properties support programs that boost residents’ health, education and income; and investments in economic development and neighborhood improvement projects.
Florida $500K grant cities as described on HUD’s website
Choice Neighborhoods Lead Grantee: Housing Authority of the City of Daytona Beach
Choice Neighborhoods Co-Grantee: City of Daytona Target Public Housing Project: Palmetto Park I & II, Caroline Village, Walnut Oak
Target Neighborhood: Midtown
Project Summary: The Midtown neighborhood, centrally located two miles west of the Daytona International Speedway, has long been considered a cultural home to the Black community. Although devoid of public infrastructure and resources – many public streets were not paved until the 1970s – and in a low-lying flood-prone area, Midtown still thrived as the social and economic center for Black life in Daytona Beach. Midtown is home to the historically black Bethune-Cookman University and several churches, parks and other sites that hold historic significance to the Black community. While the neighborhood has benefitted from recent public investments, the projects have not tipped the scale for the neighborhood. The three target housing properties – Palmetto Park I & II, Caroline Village and Walnut Oak – were damaged significantly during Hurricane Ian in September of 2022.
The Housing Authority of the City of Daytona Beach, along with the City of Daytona, will use their $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods grant to spearhead a planning process to reposition the neighborhood to attract investment, increase economic diversity, and expand affordable housing for Midtown residents.
Choice Neighborhoods Lead Grantee: Gainesville Housing Authority
Choice Neighborhoods Co-Grantee: City of Gainesville
Target Public Housing Project: Pine Meadows, Lake Terrace
Target Neighborhood: East University Avenue
Project Summary: The City of Gainesville has been a center for business, education, government, and more for over a century, but not all residents have benefited in the same way. Older, predominantly minority neighborhoods such as the East University Avenue community have received less public investment in transit and other infrastructure and have lacked basic community services such as groceries, health centers and childcare. Historically, public housing in Gainesville was located far from resources. But there are many assets near the target public housing of Pine Meadows and Lake Terrace that can be built upon. Because of their direct frontage on East University Avenue, an important regional thoroughfare, opportunities exist for mixed-use development. Additionally, the neighborhood is located one mile east of Downtown Gainesville and less than two miles east of the University of Florida, which is a thriving top-ranked school that provides many jobs to Gainesville residents.
With this $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods grant, the Gainesville Housing Authority and the City of Gainesville will be provided the necessary resources to engage residents in creating a vision, plan, and action steps for transforming this important community in an innovative, equitable, and sustainable way.
Choice Neighborhoods Lead Grantee: LIFT Orlando, Inc.
Choice Neighborhoods Co-Grantee: Housing Authority of the City of Orlando
Target Public Housing Project: Lorna Doone Apartments, Lake Mann Homes
Target Neighborhood: West Lakes/Lake Mann
Project Summary: The target neighborhood of West Lakes/Lake Mann has long been rich in Black heritage, housing long-term residents who broke through the barriers of racial and economic inequality in the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s. It was once a thriving Black community until the construction of Central Florida’s Interstate 4 tore through the community. The following decades were consumed by institutionalized neglect, giving way to systemic disinvestment, injustice and discrimination leading the area to become a pocket of chronic and generational poverty.
The renovation of Orlando’s Camping World Stadium – which sits at the center of the West Lakes/Lake Mann neighborhood – created tangible assets for the community which can be built upon with this $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods grant. LIFT Orlando Inc., along with the Housing Authority of the City of Orlando, plan to use these funds to create a plan that redevelops and improves the living conditions of the target housing sites Lorna Doone Apartments and the Lake Mann Homes. In addition, they hope to ensure all residents and families in this neighborhood have access to expanding services and partnerships.
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