• Leesburg officials hope housing complex helps clean up troublesome neighborhood


    LEESBURG, Fla. - Leesburg city officials are looking to clean up one their city's most problematic and crime-ridden areas, by opening up the city's first public housing complex in middle of the problem neighborhood.
    The city just started leasing units at Simmons and Mispah avenues in the Carver Heights neighborhood.
    Channel 9's Racquel Asa found out residents will need to meet certain obligations (requirements?) in order to stay in the complex.
    Leesburg and Lake County spent almost $100,000 to purchase 12 foreclosed units.
    The units have new roofs, a fresh coat of pain and have had repairs inside.
    When the city took over the units they had mold and extensive damage inside.
    "If someone came in and walked in they would have said, 'Let's tear them down,'" said Ken Thomas, with the Leesburg Economic Development Department. "This was probably one of the worst housing conditions that I've seen."
    It was so bad the city and county spent close to $500,000 to make all the repairs just so people can live in the complex.
    In order to move in and maintain a lease, tenants must meet with a counselor for five hours each month to improve their finances so they can one day own a home.
    "When you start, we do a year-to-year assessment of where you are today, what's your credit score, how much are you saving and at the end of the 12 months we redo that assessment," said Thomas.
    Ivy Jedson and her two daughters moved in two weeks ago; she's already looking to move out once she can get afford a place to buy.
    "So if you want to do better in life you are going to hold that job down if you  want to own your own home," said Jedson.
    Officials said they plan to have everything leased out by Sept. 1. They said they have four units left to lease.
    Potential tenants interested in moving into one of the available units should call the Economic Development Department at (352) 728-9765.

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