Habitat for Humanity of Broward, in partnership with the Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City of Pompano Beach, recently celebrated the dedication of 12 new single-family, affordable homes in the Collier City neighborhood of Pompano Beach.
The new homes, sponsored by longtime Habitat for Humanity of Broward supporter JM Family Enterprises, are the result of a master plan initiated by the Pompano Beach CRA for the revitalization of the area, which includes removing blighted vacant lots, reducing crime and delivering an affordable home ownership opportunity to the community. Nine of the 12 lots that the homes were built on were donated to Habitat for Humanity of Broward by the Pompano Beach CRA. Habitat purchased three other lots privately.
The City provided $200,000 to offset construction costs and helped the new homeowners with down payment assistance.
The City’s recent revitalization efforts in Collier City also include infrastructure and streetscape improvements, street lighting upgrades, enhanced landscaping, and the building of a new Broward Sheriff’s Office substation at the southwest corner of NW 27th Avenue and NW Fourth Court. As part of its G.O. Bond program, the City is also spending over $10 million to upgrade McNair Park, which includes a new community center.
According to Nguyen Tran, director of the Pompano Beach CRA, the 12 lots where the new homes were built sat vacant for years and were never developed because they were in a Community Business (B-2) zoning district. This zoning allows for multi-family or commercial projects, but not single-family homes, even though the size of the lots was best-suited for single-family homes.
The City and CRA thought about changing the zoning designation of the district, but decided that wasn’t possible because the land was more valuable with a B-2 zoning, and changing it would take away the landowners’ commercial rights.
Instead, several years ago, the City came up with a plan to amend the zoning code and allow single-family homes within the B-2 zoning district.
“It worked and we didn’t take away any rights,” said Tran.
Nancy Robin, CEO and Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Broward, said the City of Pompano Beach has been strategic and progressive in terms of affordable housing.
“The CRA and the City actually took on all the zoning changes to create affordable housing,” said Robin. “Now, all the cities want to do that because we’re in a crisis. At the time, Pompano did it because it was the right thing to do.”
The twelve families were given the keys to their new homes, which are along NW 27th Avenue, in June. City officials and staff from Habitat for Humanity of Broward and JM Family Enterprises were on hand to help celebrate the milestone, along with volunteers who helped build the homes.
Commissioner Cyndy Floyd of District 5, where Collier City is located, said: “There’s no other feeling like becoming a homeowner. This will be one of the best days of your life. You will never forget it.”
The homeowners participated in the building of their homes, putting in 300 hours of “sweat equity.”
Brent Burns, president and chief executive officer of JM Family Enterprises, said: “We know that home ownership is probably the most transformative investment that anybody can make. It truly does change the trajectory of peoples’ lives.”
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