The waiting has begun.
One hundred fifty names were picked today during a Facebook live event to find out who gets to live in Broward County’s first LGBT-friendly affordable apartment complex for seniors. Those selected for consideration during the bingo-like lottery will be notified in about two weeks.
Wilton Manors’ applicants will receive first consideration for five of the 48 units at the Residences at Equality Park, a $15 million project.
“I know I’m going to be cracking a bottle of champagne when we get the first resident moved in,” said Robert Boo, CEO of the Pride Center, as Vice Mayor Tom Green spun a wire bingo barrel and then pulled application numbers out of it. From start to finish, the affordable housing project at 2040 N. Dixie Highway has taken about eight years of planning and work, he noted.
“We’re very happy in Wilton Manors this is finally coming to fruition,” Green said.
The lottery took place at the Pride Center at Equality Park, which adjoins the new complex. Carrefour Supportive Housing Inc., which built the complex, received a whopping 1,501 applications from people in Florida and other states. The 48-unit complex has 21 studio apartments, 21 one-bedroom apartments and six two-bedroom apartments.
Of the 48 units, five will be reserved for Wilton Manors residents, Boo said, noting that 53 of the total applications were from Wilton Manors residents. Thirty-four of the apartments, or 70%, will go to applicants who are considered disabled, he added. All occupants must be 55 years or older, Boo said.
The applications were divided into two groups: Those from Wilton Manors residents and those from people who live elsewhere and the lottery took place in two steps.
During the first round, all the Wilton Manors applications were placed into a hand-operated wire cage and 25 were randomly selected for consideration for five of the available apartments. Afterwards, the other remaining applications were placed into the wire cage, with 150 being chosen for consideration. Each application was identifiable only by a number, which was assigned to the application when it was submitted. Applicants do not know what number was assigned to their application. All the applications received will be kept on file.
Carrfour President Stephanie Berman, who attended the lottery by video call, said they picked so many applications during Wednesday’s lottery because some applicants may drop out, while others may not meet income or other guidelines when they are reviewed. Carrfour has been building affordable housing in Florida since 1993 and currently oversees more than 1,700 housing units in Miami-Dade County. The project at the Pride Center is its first in Broward County.
Boo said 1,500 applications is the largest number that Carrfour has ever received for any of its housing projects before they opened up. One reason may be that applications were made available online, he said. Paper applications were also available at the Pride Center during the application period.
Boo said FPL is hooking up power to the complex today so the air conditioning units can be turned on and the flooring installed. Some painting, tilework and the installation of appliances will follow, he added.
“This was a community-driven identified project that was needed,” Boo said. “So here we are seven-eight years later getting ready to open it up. It’s pretty exciting.”
The developer is receiving $11.2 million in low-income housing tax credits from Florida Housing Finance Corporation, an FHDC loan of $550,000 and $955,866 in deferred development fees.
The city is contributing $50,000 from its Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The county contributed $450,000, Boo said.
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