53ºF

'We finally have a place we can call home:' Affordable housing complex opens in Kissimmee

100 families helped so far

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Osceola County leaders are working to help the homeless in the community get back on their feet. 

For more than a year, county commissioners have been working to create affordable housing for residents who have been living in hotels or don't have a permanent address. 

On Monday, a new housing complex, Cameron Preserve, was unveiled. It has helped 100 families move into a place of their own.

Yamila Figueroa and her 14-year-old daughter moved into their two-bedroom apartment in January. Everything inside was donated by people in the community. 

"I was kissing everything. I was kissing the counters. I was running back and forth. I was like, 'I got space. I got space.' Finally," Figueroa said. 

Hurricane Irma forced them out of their home and into a hotel room. 

"Irma, the roof went off so the landlord don't want to fix it so we had to go to a hotel," Figueroa said. 

For more than a year, she struggled to save money to move into permanent housing. 

The cost of the daily hotel totaled close to $1,800 a month.

"Everyday I had to pay $65.28 and it was hard for me because I was a single mom with low income and finally we can stay stable and not afraid to be kicked out," Figueroa said. 

The project was a dream for County Commissioner Viviana Janer.

"This is really a model that we're hoping that will bring stability, very much-needed stability to these families that were living formally in hotels along the (U.S.) 192," Janer said. 

The 100-unit complex offers affordable rent ranging from $355 to $898 per month. It was funded through private and state funding and a land donation from the county. 

The 9-acre property also offers classroom space and a food pantry. 

The amenities are a nice perk, but for Figueroa and her daughter, the apartments gave them more than a nice pool  -- it gave them the stability and comfort for which they have been searching. 

"We finally have a place we can call home," Figueroa said. 

The units at Cameron Preserve apartments are full. Janer said there is a waiting list for more affordable housing. 

The county and developer are working on another affordable housing complex that would offer 400 additional units.