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11/8/02 Sun Sentinel
Hollywood offers $1 million to CDCs for low-income housing development
By Georgia East
HOLLYWOOD · In an effort to encourage home ownership, the city is contributing
$1 million toward a housing development project aimed at helping low-income first-time
The funding will go to the Broward Alliance for Neighborhood Development, a coalition
of nonprofit organizations that is spearheading the movement to build low-income
Plans call for developing at least 30 new single-family houses on scattered sites
in Liberia and Washington Park -- neighborhoods targeted for redevelopment. Currently
the organization is scouting for land that can be developed.
Today, the coalition will present its plans at the city's Chamber of Commerce breakfast,
and the coalition will solicit donations from businesses. City and Broward Alliance
officials said businesses that donate would reap tax benefits under a special state
Katharine Barry, president of the coalition, said that the group was formed a little
over a year ago and that the Hollywood housing project is its first undertaking.
Local organizations such as the Liberia Economic and Social Development Corp. and
Eagle Wings Development Center belong to the coalition.
Some groups will assist with building the houses, while others will help with the
selection process and counsel new homeowners, Barry said.
To take part in the program, a family would have to be deemed very low to moderate
income, which is based on a scale that takes into account the size of a family.
A family of four, for example, would qualify as very low income if its income is
about $30,100, Barry said. A family of two is deemed very low income if its income
is about $24,100.
Barry said banks have been lined up to assist buyers with mortgages, and those buyers
will also get a $20,000 loan from the city, which has to be repaid interest-free
when the house is sold.
The coalition wants to start identifying potential homeowners by the middle of next
year and plans to start construction by next fall.
"We hope this could be a model for how affordable housing could work in other
communities," said Barry. "We each do a few houses here and there, but
if we can do projects collaboratively, we can really make an impact and change a
City officials say the project is a partnership that allows them to work with different
agencies at once. The city sought out an organization that could help with its effort
to redevelop parcels in target neighborhoods, and Broward Alliance was chosen to
spearhead the project.
"We're excited. We think this coalition of different organizations in partnership
with the city is probably the most innovative approach not only in Florida but in
the United States," said Neal Herst, the city's director of housing and community
redevelopment. "These groups are coming to the table with a wealth of experience."
Herst said the commission has made redeveloping communities and increasing home
ownership throughout Hollywood a priority.
As of 2000, 62 percent of all occupied housing units in the city were owner-occupied
and 38 percent were renter-occupied.
"They say that buying a house is an American dream," said Barry. "But
what kind of dream is it if it's not accessible to people anymore."