Creative Village to Create 7-Story Housing Project
Orlando, Florida is one of the most popular and populous cities in America and is ranked the number-50 most expensive city to live in. While it's nowhere near as expensive as New York City or San Francisco, the fact is that people are still struggling in Orlando, which is why the state of Florida is pitching in almost $700 million to build a 7-story housing project in Creative Village, Orlando.
Construction on the project was green-lit earlier this week, and it's expected to be completed by 2022. Because of so many restrictions being loosened in Florida, the state has a head start on the rest of the nation in terms of these sorts of infrastructure projects. This is not part of the Biden Administration's infrastructure plan, and it is unclear to date if any money will be given federally for the construction of this project. To date, all we know is that construction is about to take place, and there will be dozens of apartments in this 7-story project.
Housing projects have a long history and a shoddy reputation around America. Many people claim that these projects are just funneling minorities into one singular area, away from the suburbs, to get them away from everyone else. It's something that proponents of critical race theory point to as examples of redlining and systemic racism. However, according to Florida, "there is no race called 'poor,'" and officials assure the state's residents that this affordable housing measure is equally available to anyone who needs to apply for low-rent housing.
Orlando's racial demographics are in line with the rest of the nation in many respects. It's 61% White, 24% Black, and there is a thick dividing line between people who do well financially and people who do not. The homeless population in Orlando is around 7,000 people and growing all the time, due to the fact that so many businesses were shut down due to Covid. Millions of people were unemployed, and a lot of them did not quality for unemployment payments. While there was a moratorium on rent payments, it came too late for a lot of people. Plus, many homeless flock to big cities like Orlando. The state is hoping that this project will help a lot of people finally find the housing that they deserve. It will be located in the heart of downtown Orlando.
The Meaning of "Affordable" Housing
When the average person hears the term "Affordable housing," they generally think that it means poorer individuals will have housing available with lower rent. However, what it really means is that it's "affordable" for the government to build; affordable for the taxpayer. By and large, the people who will move into this type of housing will be given Section 8 housing vouchers, which effectively mean they will not have to pay rent at all. In many cases, this is also coupled with utility assistance and EBT benefits (food stamps), so the person's or family's net cost of living is zero. Government calls this affordable housing more so to reassure the taxpayer that money isn't being wasted.
Professionals from economists to sociologists spend a lot of their time trying to understand why people in this sort of housing are poor generation after generation. In other housing projects in the state of Florida, and all around the nation, over 50% of people living rent-free on Section 8 are the children and grandchildren of people who also lived rent free. Critics point out that every single dollar these people earn from a job can go into savings, so there's no reason at all that generation after generation lives rent-free on subsidies unless they're scamming the system. Though proponents of free housing point out that there are deeper socioeconomic issues at play that one simply cannot rise up from in a few generations.
Whichever version is correct, if either at all, the fact is that there are over 2,000 housing projects in the USA, and over 5 million people on section 8. 68% of those get a housing choice voucher, which means they can move where they want and government will pay for it. Again, we're looking at a polarizing topic, with some claiming it's too much for free and others claiming we're not doing enough. However, the state of Florida is excited about this project, as it will house hundreds of people; and they have more projects like this lined up in the near future.
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