MOVING ON UP: UNIQUE COLLABORATION TURNS RENTERS INTO FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS IN LAKE WORTH BEACH
September 12, 2023
Community Partners of South Florida
Community Partners of South Florida and the Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency have discovered a solution to make affordable housing possible.
Lake Worth Beach, Fla.—There is new hope for working-class residents seeking an affordable first-time home in Palm Beach County’s skyrocketing housing market.
Community Partners of South Florida (CPSFL) and the Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (LWBCRA) have announced their most recent collaboration: affordable rental apartments where residents are immediately put on the path to homeownership through free financial literacy and matched savings programs.
“Think of it as a workforce housing apartment complex that will double as a first-time homebuyer’s club where qualified tenants receive financial guidance, downpayment matching funds, and support one another in reaching their goal of home ownership,” said Lynda Charles, CPSFL’s vice president of housing services.
The housing solution is the result of a unique collaboration between CPSFL, a comprehensive community development nonprofit, and the LWBCRA. The LWBCRA acquired the six-unit rental building from the City of Lake Worth Beach. The LWBCRA donated the building to CPSFL, who will rehabilitate the building creating six affordable rental units, manage the property, qualify renters, and guide them as they save for
a home and move up and out, opening the apartment for the next renter on the path to home ownership. Current tenants will be the first to have the opportunity to become eligible for the new program.
“It’s a solution where everyone wins,” said Emily Theodossakos, LWBCRA’s marketing program manager. “The City benefits from a refurbished building, the LWBCRA accomplishes property redevelopment at no cost to taxpayers, CPSFL adds inventory to their successful housing programs, and working-class people can rent an affordable apartment in Palm Beach County while saving for a home.”
The program is aimed at working-class residents and essential workers, including police officers, teachers, and service industry employees. Once the building is rehabilitated within the next six to nine months, eligible residents may apply for the two-bedroom units that will be offered at rents lower than the county’s $2,500 market rate.
“We would not be able to rent below market if we had to purchase the building,” said Charles. “By the LWBCRA providing it to us at no cost, we can pass savings onto families. We’re showing how collaboration is the way to do affordable housing.”
The collaboration between CPSFL and the LWBCRA began in 2008 during the foreclosure era when the neighborhood stabilization programs (NSP-2) were created to assist families experiencing foreclosures and to reclaim the houses or assets left vacant. The Department of Housing and Urban Development provided NSP funds to the LWBCRA to acquire, rehabilitate and sell and/or rent the properties to
households making 120% of AMI or lower. CPSFL worked with the clients and provided counseling and income certification to determine eligibility.
The relationship evolved into a Lake Worth Beach Homebuyer’s Club, with CPSFL assisting any of the City’s residents with education and resources to begin the path to homeownership, and CPSFL and the LWBCRA collaborating on Individual Development Accounts where eligible program participants residing in the LWBCRA’s district may receive up to $2,000 in 1:1 matching funds to be utilized as a down
payment to purchase anywhere in Lake Worth.
“CPSFL has a proven track record and is a great partner to our city and our residents—current and future,” said Theodossakos. “We knew they were the right organization to take this next step in developing an affordable rental apartment building and helping renters become permanent residents.”
“We have the same goals,” added Charles. “We believe in comprehensive services to create opportunities for families and communities to thrive.”
For more information about the project, please contact Lynda Charles, vice president housing services, Community Partners of South Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ABOUT COMMUNITY PARTNERS OF SOUTH FLORIDA
Housing Partnership, Inc., doing business as Community Partners of South Florida (CPSFL), is a comprehensive community development 501(c)3 nonprofit agency headquartered in Riviera Beach that connects communities with equitable access to housing and financial literacy, child and family behavioral health, and community-based programs all designed to help families thrive. CPSFL’s core focus is revitalizing neighborhoods by investing in people, infrastructure, and economic development. The annual budget is approximately $17 million with 220 staff. CPSFL is a chartered affiliate of NeighborWorks America, a national, nonpartisan network of organizations striving to make every
community a place of opportunity. For more information visit www.cpsfl.org or call 561-841-3500.
ABOUT LAKE WORTH BEACH COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY
The Lake Worth Beach CRA is investing in our community to revitalize and rebuild our neighborhoods and commercial corridors. We are dedicated to maintaining the character of the City, responding to community needs and encouraging sustainable economic growth to improve the quality of life for our residents and the future health of our City.