Renovations at HUD complex build relationships

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Almost 200 people are now living in better conditions thanks to a local nonprofit. Ability Housing of Northeast Florida has spent several years renovating Oakland Terrace Apartments on the city's east side.

The property was at risk of losing its rental assistance contract in 2009. In order to keep its HUD status as an affordable housing community, the neighborhood needed $5 million in renovations. Through LISC Jacksonville, Florida Housing Finance Corporation, TD Bank, National Equity Fund and the use of Low income Housing Tax Credits, the renovations were finished November 2013.

"We're trying to build a relationship with all of the surrounding neighbors, the churches, the other properties, and we're trying to completely expand the impact throughout the entire community," said Ability Housing Executive Director Shannon Nazworth.

A new computer lab and fitness center were added to the property, along with a brand new playground. KaBoom built the playground through a grant from Humana.

"The most important part of this transformation is the look on the resident's faces when they got to move back in. The kids were so excited, and the moms, fathers, and grandmothers, were just overwhelmed by how much of a change was to the apartments was wonderful to see," said Nazworth.

Ability Housing has a goal to end homelessness in Northeast Florida by providing affordable and quality housing.

A dedication ceremony for Oakland Terrace will be Tuesday morning at 10 a.m.


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