Lincoln Avenue Capital, one of the nation’s fastest-growing affordable housing developers, investors and operators held ribbon-cutting ceremonies in March to celebrate the revitalization of two affordable housing properties in Florida. These rehabilitations come at a time when America is gripped with an affordable housing crisis.
The Miami-Dade County properties—Westview Gardens in Miami and Jubilee Courtyards in Homestead—now have modernized interiors (from the floors to the kitchens to the cabinets) and new green features, including energy-efficient appliances, low-flow fixtures, and solar arrays on the roof.
The projects were financed with a HUD 223(f) loan, bonds from Miami-Dade Housing Finance Authority, and 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits from Florida Housing Finance Corporation.
Local elected officials, investors, and residents joined Lincoln Avenue Capital at both ceremonies, celebrating the partnerships that helped facilitate the renovations at these 100 percent affordable housing properties.
Jubilee Courtyards contains 98 units of affordable housing for working families. Westfield Gardens contains 160-units of affordable housing for seniors.
The renovations, Lincoln Avenue Capital said, have helped create a community in which residents and property managers can take pride. A values-driven organization, Lincoln Avenue Capital’s portfolio includes 47 properties, comprising more than 9,000 units. To date, they have preserved more than 3,600 units.
“As construction prices have gotten higher and it’s become more difficult to build affordable units, I think it’s important to preserve the existing affordable units that we have, and that’s something that we at Lincoln Avenue Capital have been committed to doing,” said Yoni Gruskin, Partner at Lincoln Avenue Capital.
The rehabilitations have legally ensured that Jubilee Courtyards and Westview Gardens will remain affordable for an additional 30 years
During remarks at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Gruskin explained that one-in-four affordable housing units will be lost by the end of the decade. As properties’ affordability covenants expire, Gruskin said, many owners will convert affordable units to market-rate rentals, pricing out working-class families. Lincoln Avenue Capital is taking action to protect communities from this trend.
“We extend the affordable restrictions to make sure that for as long as the tenants live here, they’ll be protected by the restrictions that are currently in place here,” Gruskin said. “We like to say [our properties are] affordable in perpetuity since that’s our goal on these projects.”
“It’s great to hear the testimonies of the tenants who live here because there’s a lot of work done behind the scenes,” said V.T. Williams, a board member on the Housing Finance Authority of Miami-Dade County. “We are very, very pleased with the developer and the management company to make what you saw 20 years ago look like it is today.”
Residents have already begun to feel these changes. The renovations were so extensive that visitors and relatives hardly recognized the property.