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Shimberg Center shares $1 million grant from MacArthur Foundation

Representatives from the Florida Partnership – made up of the University of Florida Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, Florida Housing Finance Corporation and Florida Housing Coalition – announced today that they are the recipients of a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Floridas selection in this highly competitive process marks the state as an emerging leader in the field of affordable rental housing preservation, said William J. ODell, manager of the Shimberg Centers Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse. ODell and Shimberg Center researcher Anne Ray are leading the centers research on the MacArthur grant.

Representatives from the Florida Partnership made up of the University of Florida Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, Florida Housing Finance Corporation and Florida Housing Coalition announced today that they are the recipients of a $1 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Floridas selection in this highly competitive process marks the state as an emerging leader in the field of affordable rental housing preservation, said William J. ODell, manager of the Shimberg Centers Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse. ODell and Shimberg Center researcher Anne Ray are leading the centers research on the MacArthur grant.

We are honored to work with our partners, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and the Florida Housing Coalition. This project marks the latest step in a longstanding partnership among our agencies, said ODell.

With the states rapid growth and available land, Floridas affordable housing focus has been historically on new construction, yet most of these newer units have rents that are not affordable to the lowest income families. The MacArthur grant will allow the Florida Partnership to meet the needs of low-wage workers and low-income seniors by providing mission-driven organizations with assistance so they can preserve properties that provide housing for extremely low-income households and people with special needs.

For its part, the Shimberg Center will receive $500,000 of the grant to develop enhanced data tools to help the state, non-profits and local governments make far-sighted decisions about the communities and properties most in need of affordable housing preservation.

We are excited about this opportunity to connect University of Florida to the needs of Floridas communities. Our estimates show that over 900,000 low-income households in Florida rent their housing; for their sake, preservation of the states existing affordable rental housing is crucial, said Ray.

UFs research and data collection will address the following questions:

  • Which tenantssuch as seniors, families with children, people with disabilities, and so forthare most at risk of losing their housing?
  • How do rents change at properties that are not preserved as affordable housing?
  • Where are the best spots for affordable housing preservation that will help connect tenants with jobs and transportation?
  • How much affordable rental housing is provided by the private market?

All of the data that the Shimberg Center collects will be available to the public on the Florida Housing Data Clearinghouse Web site.

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