CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) — The Crestview City Council approved donating two lots of property for affordable housing. The council voted unanimously Monday night to give the land over with plans to build three homes.
- Lots 18 & 19 Block 153, S Rayburn Street and Walnut Avenue East
City staff recommended the land be deemed surplus and said they had no development plans in the future. Donating the nearly half-an-acre corner lots to Habitat for Humanity meets a 2020 strategic plan objective to combat the need for more affordable housing.
“We have to be aggressive in how we try to find affordable housing, and in the past typically all of us helped Habitat to come here with homes but it has always been two,” said Crestview Mayor JB Whitten. “So to be able to get 3 is something very, very welcome here.”
Habitat for Humanity in Okaloosa Co. will construct the string of homes for families in need. CEO Nitsi Bennett said two of the three families have already been selected. Applications for the third will open at midnight on Sept. 30.
“We’ll look at about 50 to 60 applications in two weeks for the pre-application. It’s very competitive, but then the need is, you know, the need is unbelievable,” said Bennet. “I will contact every single one of them. Set up an appointment for all of them to come in. Then if they qualify fine with the pre-application, they will get a full application.”
Construction will begin in Oct. having the three-bedroom homes in various stages of construction. Bennett said the funds for the project were made available from Okaloosa County ARPA funding and local business donations.
Okaloosa County approved to donate land in Crestview previously with a project to Lincoln St.. Bennett said the support from the city is vital in making these next three homes possible.
“The city is taking the affordable housing thing quite seriously,” said Bennet. “They understand they got a problem, and they understand there’s a lot of people that cannot afford thirteen $1400 rent a month, you know, so they’re just paving the way for the citizens to have a place to live.”
Looking ahead with Habitat for Humanity:
Bennett said in the coming months, a new pilot program with the City of Fort Walton Beach will aim to help two families in need with critical home repairs. Those in need of major structural or roof repairs will be able to apply the same as Habitat for Humanity families.
“A family that they just don’t have the income and they do need a roof, most insurance companies will dump people if they don’t replace the roof,” said Bennett. “Roofs no longer cost $2,000. The roof is $10,000 so Habitat will come in with our volunteers and get that work done for a lot less.”
The City of Fort Walton Beach will release more information on this program in the future.