Commission Debates Direction of Affordable Housing Program

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Should the city provide first-time home buyer assistance? Rental assistance? Both? That’s the question commissioners will have to answer if they want to utilize $280,000 to assist low-income residents who live in the city.

Commissioner Julie Carson suggested rental assistance. “Part of our goal is to reach the greatest number of residents with the resources we have. This will really serve so many people in our community.” Later, Carson said she was open to both. “I would hate to exclude one or the other.”

Commissioner Tom Green said he preferred helping people purchase a home. “You help and that part is over.” He said rental assistance is more long-term and he doesn’t want to get the city involved in that kind of program and provide “eternal help.” As for people wanting to live in Wilton Manors, Green said they can live close to the city and still visit and enjoy what it has to offer. “You can live one mile away. There’s nothing wrong with living in Fort Lauderdale.”

Commissioner Scott Newton said he would like to see seniors “who have been here 40 years already” get the assistance.

City staff researched available affordable housing in the city and only one property came up, an apartment complex at 2417 Powerline Road, that is managed by South Florida Community Land Trust. That organization builds and renovates single and multi-family residences to provide affordable housing.

The issue will be discussed again at a later commission meeting.

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