TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Twenty families got a glimpse of what will soon be their new homes on Thursday.

Catholic Charities and Hillsborough County officials held an official ribbon cutting for the Mercy Oaks Apartments on North Florida Avenue.

The affordable housing complex has 20 homes that range from one to three bedrooms.

In 2019, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, in partnership with the Diocese of St. Petersburg, started a 3-year plan to create 8-10 new locations of affordable housing in response to the ongoing local affordable housing crisis.

“We have been in crisis for some time. Wages are flat, unemployment and underemployment are high while housing and rent costs continue to rise. The average person simply cannot afford it,” said Maggie Rogers, Executive Director of Catholic Charities. “Our goal is to help prevent as many families as possible from becoming homeless by creating more affordable housing.”

“It’s good at least I get to be in some air. In some air instead of out here in this hotness,” said future resident Carriann Edwards, who up until now did not have a place to live.

“I’m happy,” she said as tears streamed down her face.

Mercy Oaks will open in October thanks to $2.4 million in Hillsborough County funding and $1.9 million from Catholic Charities.

“The Mercy Oaks Apartments is a perfect example of what we can do together to help restore dignity and respect to our citizens that are emerging from homelessness. We are especially proud to be funding activities that increase affordable housing options and supportive services in a dignified way,” said Cheryl Howell, Hillsborough County’s Director of Affordable Housing.