City commissioners are mulling the idea of allocating $200,000 from Wilton Manors Affordable Housing Trust Fund for a proposed LGBT-friendly affordable housing project for seniors.
The project, slated to be built at The Pride Center at Equality Park, at 2040 N. Dixie Highway, is expected to cost $15 million. The county will contribute $900,000 towards the project, according to Commissioner Julie Carson.
Wilton Manors currently has $306,265 in its Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Carson said she has requested a copy of the 65-year-lease that would be signed by Carrfour Supportive Housing Inc. should the Commission move forward with the project.
“I encourage my colleagues to think about this and give direction so we can hopefully move forward and give funding to help bridge that gap,” Carson said at the August 28 City Commission meeting. The Commission has taken no action on the project yet.
The complex will include low-income housing tax credits from Florida Housing Finance Corporation, already secured by Carrfour.
Carrfour has been building affordable housing in Florida since 1993 and currently oversees more than 1,700 housing units in Miami-Dade County. The proposed project at the Pride Center would be its first in Broward County.
Commissioner Scott Newton said the complex is a positive thing for Wilton Manors but he needs answers to several questions.
“I haven’t really seen any plans on this,’’ Newton said. “Do I have questions? Absolutely. Do I want to see it move forward? Absolutely. It’s conducive to have a project like that there. I just need a few more questions answered.”
Vice Mayor Justin Flipped echoed similar sentiments.
“I love the fact that it’s LGBT-friendly,” Flippen said. “I support the project in concept. I have the same questions my colleagues raised with respect to the request for funding: we have never given any amount anywhere near this to any organization. This would be a major, major grant for us so we need to do our due diligence to make sure it will be a benefit to our community.”
Flippen said he would like to see the audited financial statements for both the Pride Center and Carrfour for the past three years before making a decision.
Pride Center CEO Robert Boo said the project is the culmination of six years of planning.
“We are committed to being a good neighbor to all those around us,” Boo said. Efforts to reach Boo by phone after the meeting were unsuccessful.
The Carrfour proposal includes 48 affordable senior housing units, of which 34 would be set aside as housing for disabled seniors. All units would be affordable and available to adults age 55 or older.
- The 48-unit, four-story building would be constructed on 5.16 acres on the northwest corner of the property, with parking.
- Units would include a mix of studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments of varying sizes.
- The project would include a club room, a library/computer room, a gym, laundry and an administrative office.
- The main lobby would physically connect with the main Pride Center building.
- The development would be managed by Crossroads Management LLC.
Chris Caputo, the new board chair of the Pride Center, urged city officials to support the project.
“I think this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. It is an exciting opportunity that I think is going to open doors to more opportunities like this,” Caputo said.
James Carras, a Fort Lauderdale resident and chairman of the Broward Housing Council, which advises the Broward County Commission on affordable housing issues, also urged the city to support the project.
“This is a great project,” Carras said. “The challenge is this is not easy to do.”