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Leaders celebrate newly completed affordable housing project

Community offers rent as low as $389 a month
Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 15, 2022

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Real Estate Site, Zillow, showed the median rent for a one bedroom property in the Tallahassee area is $1,680. When it comes to affordable housing, options are in short supply.

Now, one new complex is giving neighbors options as city and state leaders deal with inflation and increasing interest rates.

"It's great! It's affordable," said Treyvun Thomas. He’s a new resident at the recently completed Lafayette Gardens in Tallahassee. "We've got a nice pool. We've got a gym and access to computers and lounge. It's like any other nice complex. It's real nice." Working for Coca-Cola, he said the option to live here helps him make the most of his paycheck.

"This is an opportunity to finally make a dent in this affordable housing crisis that is only expanding,” explained Matthew A. Rieger, CEO of Housing Trust Group. HTG helped bring this project to fruition. “We have a shortage of 7,000 extremely low-income units in Tallahassee alone," Rieger said.

That number came from University of Florida's Shimberg Center for Housing Studies. In recent years, city leaders have worked to address that problem through projects like Premier Fine Homes’ nearly 300 affordable housing units coming to the city by next summer. Progress has also been made on the Orange Avenue complex going up on the southside.

"We've got to find the right places and be strategic about who are partners are who come into the city to do this work,” said City Commissioner Dianne Williams-Cox. She added they're keeping the affordable housing issue a priority. "I would like to see our state leaders help us in regards to our funding and financing. We have so much property that is off the tax roll that we're unable to collect."

At Lafayette Gardens, one, two and three bedroom apartments have gone fast. The community started leasing earlier in 2022. Rents range from $389 to $1,112 per month for income-qualifying individuals who make at or below 33 percent or 60 percent of area median income (AMI).

To be considered low-income, In Leon county, a two-person household cannot make more than $21,450 for 33 percent or $39,000 for 60 percent AMI. A four-person household must make no more than $26,796 for 33 percent AMI and $48,720 for 60 percent AMI. The affordable rent prices have people like Thomas feeling great after getting the news that he could move in. "I was excited,” Thomas said. “I moved out the next day from my roommates, and I came in. It's been a great experience ever since."

Lafayette Gardens’ 96 units are already 100 percent occupied, so there is a wait listof one year to get in.