• Central Florida counties team up to provide affordable housing

    By: Cierra Putman

    Updated:

    ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - April and Marcos Correa have been working hard to make a one-bedroom hotel room feel like a home for their three children since the house they were renting caught fire in October.

    They are one of hundreds of Central Florida families that are in need of affordable housing.

    “It’s been difficult, very difficult for us,” April Correa said. “You just have to keep going, no matter what the day brings.”

    Officials from Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties came together Friday to tackle the issue during a regional affordable housing workshop.

    One of the workshop’s goals was to determine some of the best places to establish affordable housing instead of just clustering units together.

    “We want to see more inclusive communities that have a mixture of housing types,” Orange County manager of housing and community development Mitchell Glasser said.

    It was something that April Correa would like to see happen.

    “We’re able to ride the bus. The schools are close by. I think that (affordable housing) needs to be in those areas,” she said.

    Another need the counties were trying to meet was finding a way to help residents with moving costs, which can be a serious problem, April Correa said.

    “I mean, we work,” she said. “We can afford rent. We can’t afford moving costs.”

    The Correas are currently paying about $300 a week for their hotel room.

    They would like to find a three-bedroom apartment for less than $950.

    “We’ve had our days where we didn’t have enough to pay for our room, (to) pay for food,” April Correa said.

    The plan to create more affordable housing will take five to 10 years to complete, but other programs are in place in the interim, Glasser said.

    “What we’re trying to do here is take it to the next level and do it project by project, program by program,” he said.

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