Hope Villages of America (HVA) is announcing its plans to expand its affordable housing options beginning October 1, 2022. The nonprofit’s housing continuum is to bring families from the street to the shelter, to affordable housing, and then on to market-rate housing or homeownership. However, many individuals find themselves facing homelessness due to the lack of affordable housing in the Tampa Bay area.
“The solution to ending homelessness is providing more affordable housing options. There is a desperate need for affordable housing and it is preventing local residents from rising out of homelessness,” said Kirk Ray Smith, President and CEO of Hope Villages of America. “The problem is dire and we need to address it now.”
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 20 percent of renter households in Florida are extremely low-income, and 79 percent of those households spend more than half of their income on housing. Furthermore, there is a shortage of nearly 300,000 affordable and available rental units for low-income renters across Tampa Bay.
To provide solutions to the housing problem, HVA will acquire 20 additional affordable housing units in Clearwater of fully renovated one and two-bedroom units. The acquisition of these units is expected to occur by the fall of 2022. The nonprofit will also transition the 14 Grace House units to the affordable housing stock in Pinellas County, providing more affordable options to low-income families. The transition of the Grace House units and the new units in Clearwater will help prevent another 34 families and individuals from becoming homeless due to not being able to afford their rent.
“This change within our organization will not only help those facing homelessness but will also help survivors of domestic violence. Sometimes, victims do not want to leave their abuser due to financial concerns and being unable to afford to live on their own. We believe by providing more affordable housing options, survivors will be encouraged to leave their abusers as they’ll be able to afford a place to live,” says Smith.
HVA remains fully committed to serving homeless families and plans to expand to include individuals through their Community Outreach Services, providing case management, assistance in applying for benefits, referral services, workforce development, utility and rent assistance. HVA also plans to seek partnerships with other organizations that work with individuals needing affordable housing.
“Instead of offering a brick-and-mortar shelter while receiving our services, we would apply for funds to assist families with rental assistance and/or temporarily house families in a motel. This approach prevents homelessness and is much easier to scale based on funding availability, and seamlessly fits our mission,” says Smith.
Hope Villages of America will be having a press conference about the expansion at 9 a.m. on July 13, 2022 at Grace House located on 1552 S Myrtle Ave, Clearwater, FL 33756.
They will also be having two community forum conversations at 11 a.m. on July 27 at Grace House, and at 9 a.m. on August 10, 2022 via Zoom. Details for the Zoom forum are below:
Meeting ID: 830 3833 2651.
About Hope Villages of America: Established in 1967, HVA is a registered 501(c)(3) organization that addresses hunger, housing, and abuse in our community. This mission is advanced through three distinct but integrated divisions: Food Distribution & Basic Needs, Housing Stability Services, and Abuse Services. These divisions operate in more than 60,000 square feet of service space and serve more than 150,000 individuals who rely on them annually. For more information, visit hopevillagesofamerica.org or call 727-584-3528.