Program offers free assessments, guides and trainings to help affordable housing owners protect their properties from climate change and natural disasters
FLORIDA – Today, Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) joined officials from Miami, Orlando and Tampa, resilience experts and affordable housing providers at a virtual event to announce the launch of Keep Safe Florida. Originally launched as a pilot in Miami in 2021, the Keep Safe program offers free tools and resources to help affordable housing owners and operators in the three regions assess and address threats from climate change and natural disasters.
“Floridians know all too well the destruction caused by major hurricanes and other climate events, and lower-income neighborhoods and communities of color are on the front lines of the climate crisis. Housing providers must take steps to protect lives and homes before the next storm hits,” said Jacqueline Waggoner, president of Enterprise’s Solutions Division. “We are grateful for the collaboration among many public and private partners that made it possible to expand the Keep Safe program to the Orlando and Tampa regions, and we urge affordable housing operators to take full advantage of these free resources.”
In Miami, 45 owners and operators of multifamily affordable housing have already benefited from free property assessments and resilience resources provided by Keep Safe. With this expansion, the program is now available to owners and operators of multifamily housing in Miami (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties), Tampa (Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hernando and Pasco Counties) and Orlando (Orange, Lake, Osceola and Seminole Counties). Participants will gain access to easy-to-use tools that can be used to assess a property’s vulnerability to various climate-related events, such as hurricanes and flooding, as well as specialized training and comprehensive assistance in developing action plans to implement the recommendations from their vulnerability assessments.
“Protecting, preserving and providing more housing for residents is both a critical need and a critical focus for our city,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “As we respond to a changing climate and continually seek ways to make our community more sustainable, healthier and more equitable, the Keep Safe Florida program will be a valuable tool to increase resilience and safety for residents.”
The launch event included a panel featuring City of St. Petersburg Councilmember Brandi Gabbard, Chair of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council (TBRPC), City of Miami District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell and City of Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina I. Hill as well as a keynote address from Ethan Handelman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Enterprise expects to support at least 50 affordable housing properties in each metro area through Keep Safe over the next year. The comprehensive array of resilience resources available to participants includes:
- Portfolio Protect – helps owners and operators understand which properties face the highest risk of damage from natural hazards.
- Building Protect – identifies strategies for high-risk properties and provides resources and recommendations to reduce the potential harm properties and residents face from storms and other disasters.
- Funding Resources Guide – provides information to multifamily housing owners and managers about the resources available to help implement resilience strategies.
“The TBRPC and local governments across the region are defining how extreme weather and future sea level rise will impact our communities, and specifically the affordable housing stock. With the Keep Safe Florida tools and technical support, our region will move to the next level by working with building owners and managers to evaluate 50 properties and sites,” said City of St. Petersburg Councilmember and Chair of the TBRPC Brandi Gabbard.
“The TBRPC and Pinellas County resilience directors participated on the Keep Safe Advisory Board and recognized the benefits to multi-family property owners of using a thoroughly vetted inspection resource,” said Sean Sullivan, Executive Director of the TBRPC. “TBRPC’s collaboration will enable multiple local government members to get access to the resources We’re pleased to partner with Enterprise and support the rollout to our local government members in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties in the Truist market, and hope to expand this into the other Resilience Coalition counties.”
Keep Safe Florida is a partnership among Enterprise, the Cities of Miami and Orlando, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, the Florida Housing Coalition and the Institute for Building Technology and Safety. Keep Safe Florida was made possible with support from Truist Financial Corporation through its Truist Charitable Fund, a donor-advised fund at The Winston-Salem Foundation.
“At Truist, our purpose is to inspire and build better lives and communities,” said Heidi Schoonover, director of Community Reinvestment Act strategic programs and initiatives at Truist. “Through our support of Keep Safe Florida, we’re helping to ensure the stability and well-being of families.”
About Enterprise Community Partners
Enterprise is a national nonprofit that exists to make a good home possible for the millions of families without one. We support community development organizations on the ground, aggregate and invest capital for impact, advance housing policy at every level of government, and build and manage communities ourselves. Since 1982, we have invested $54 billion and created 873,000 homes across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico – all to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging. Join us at enterprisecommunity.org.
About Truist Charitable Fund
The Truist Charitable Fund is a donor-advised fund created by Truist and administered by The Winston-Salem Foundation.
Truist Financial Corporation is a purpose-driven financial services company committed to inspiring and building better lives and communities. Truist has leading market share in many high-growth markets in the country. The company offers a wide range of services including retail, small business and commercial banking; asset management; capital markets; commercial real estate; corporate and institutional banking; insurance; mortgage; payments; specialized lending; and wealth management. Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Truist is a top 10 U.S. commercial bank. Truist Bank, Member FDIC. Learn more at Truist.com.