MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The affordable housing crisis continues to touch families across the Tampa Bay area. A nonprofit in Manatee County is working to address the issue and help parents with children under 18 who are either struggling with homelessness or threatened by it.
The Barancik Foundation awarded Help to Home Inc. a $350,000 grant in May for its plans to build Hope Village.
The project will take form on a nearly five-acre lot on 30th Avenue West in Bradenton. It will be a community made up of 53 two-bedroom housing units that will be rented out for under-market rates. The first phase of construction will include 16 homes.
Residents who are accepted into the program will only reside at Hope Village for up to two years. During that time, they will receive wrap-around services that will help them save money, get better jobs, and ultimately be more prepared to succeed when transitioning into permanent housing.
“They will be heavy in case management as well as financial management. We have people on staff that will guide our residents through this process of trying to break the cycle of homelessness. As a former Manatee County commissioner for 16 years, this is probably the biggest critical issue in Manatee County right now. The problem is government isn’t able to solve it, at least fast enough. When I left, I came upon this organization, which actually took matters into their own hands,” Help to Home Development Administrator Carol Whitmore said.
The Barancik Foundation appreciated how Hope Village aims to empower families to become more self-sufficient.
“We need people like Help to Home, we need government, we need philanthropy and we need even the citizenry to take part in this because I like to say it is an all hands on deck kind of situation. It is not something that can be solved without everybody working together,” Barancik Foundation’s Collaboration and Impact Officer Matthew Sauer said.
Whitmore says the entire project will cost about $7.7 million.
“We have a construction company that has waived their professional fees and are only doing this work at cost and that is Carter Construction. The county also helped us a lot to where they waived all of the impact fees 100 percent, so we pay no taxes and we have our impact fees waived, so now it is us just raising money from the private sector,” she explained.
Construction on the property is slated to begin later this year.