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St. Augustine's Habitat for Humanity gets green light to build its biggest neighborhood yet

The 36 homes could help create workforce housing, needed in the county

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — St. Johns County is one of the richest counties in Florida.

But there are many who live and work here who are getting priced-out of the housing market.

Tuesday, some much needed workforce housing just got the go-ahead from the St. johns County Commission.

"The need is huge,"  Malinda Everson said. She is the Executive Director of St. Augustine's Habitat for Humanity.

Construction is wrapping up in the latest Habitat for Humanity neighborhood in West Augustine. The neighborhood is called Canopy Oaks and there are 18 homes here.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Augustine just got approval from the county to build another neighborhood called Volusia Woods, twice as big with 36 houses.

Credit: Jessica Clark
Habitat for Humanity neighborhood, Canopy Oaks, in St. Augustine

"This is going to be our largest development to date," Everson told First Coast News. 

While new houses are going up in all over the county, most of them are too expensive for people who work in the service industry.

As of December, the average sale price of a home in St. Johns County was $450,000, according to Redfin. That's up 25 percent in one year.  For comparison. The average sale price of a house in Jacksonville was $285,000.

So these new homes in St. Augustine could help make a dent in that gap, being affordable for low to moderate income households.

"The price point for the homes we’re building in our neighborhoods range from $200,000 – 240,000, depending on the size of the house," Everson said. 

She noted that people who come to Habitat for Humanity for help include "one gentleman who lives in a mobile home and doesn’t have running water in his kitchen. We have others who are couch surfing, literally homeless."

And these are people who are working. 

But they don’t make enough to afford the soaring price of renting or owning a home in the county, a county that many of them are from.

There are a few other workforce housing projects in the mix in St. Johns County.

For Habitat for Humanity, it now needs to raise money to start raising the next set of houses.

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