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The grant will help to preserve affordable housing for 5,000 families, seniors and people with disabilities

TALLAHASSEE, FL – February 27, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — At a press conference today, representatives from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing), the Florida Housing Coalition (FHC) and the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida (Shimberg Center) announced that they are the recipients of a $1,000,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. This investment will help preserve affordable rental housing units for more than 5,000 Floridians by offering non-profit organizations technical assistance and the use of enhanced housing market data, thereby building non-profit capacity to assist in targeted preservation efforts statewide.

The three entities—known as the Florida Partnership—collectively are one of 12 recipients nationwide to receive funding from the MacArthur Foundation

The Florida Partnership will use the $1,000,000 investment by the MacArthur Foundation in a coordinated preservation effort as follows:

• The Coalition will use its $475,000 grant to educate non-profits and local governments about preservation strategies and how to access funding; it will also provide key non-profit developers with more than 200 hours of technical support on specific projects.

• The Shimberg Center will use its $500,000 grant to develop enhanced data tools that will allow non-profits, local governments and the State to make far-sighted preservation decisions.

• Florida Housing’s plan is to offer demonstration funds to non-profit and for-profit developers for the rehabilitation of aging privately owned properties with expiring subsidies; as such, the balance of the grant funding ($25,000) will be used to support peer networking activities for this purpose.

“This award comes at a time when our state is facing significant challenges regarding funding for affordable rental housing,” said Steve Auger, executive director for Florida Housing. “Working in partnership with the Coalition and Shimberg Center, we are striving to preserve 20,000 at-risk rental units by 2019, which is about one-third of Florida’s oldest units and, in many cases, houses people with extremely low incomes, such as seniors and people with disabilities. As nearly 60,000 federally assisted housing units in Florida are more than 20 years old, the time is now for Florida to identify available resources to assist in preserving this critically needed housing.”

“Florida is a national model for its creative programs and dedicated revenue source for affordable housing, yet we have an acute need for increased non-profit capacity in the development and management of multifamily rental housing,” said Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition. “The partnership structure of this MacArthur grant is the recipe for success in preserving affordable housing in Florida.”

Yesterday, the MacArthur Foundation announced a total of $32.5 million in new funding to 12 states and cities for innovative projects to preserve more than 70,000 affordable rental homes nationwide. The investment—$9.5 million in grants and an additional $23 million in low-interest loans—is part of the Foundation’s “Window of Opportunity” initiative, which is a 10-year, $150 million effort to: (1) coordinate preservation efforts and target places most in need of intervention, (2) track the state of rental housing, (3) preserve homes before buildings become run-down, and (4) leverage more than $147 million in other funding.

“Florida’s emphasis on building the capacity of local and regional nonprofits to preserve affordable rental housing will help the state particularly meet the housing needs of low-wage workers and seniors,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton.

For more specific information on the grant, visit www.macfound.org/florida.



(850) 488-4187
cecka.green (at) floridahousing (dot) org


The MacArthur Foundation supports creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. In addition to selecting the MacArthur Fellows, the Foundation works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.


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