Orange County leaders break ground on new affordable housing project

Project leaders say 19 homes will be built over next few years

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County leaders teamed up with Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County to break ground on a project to bring affordable housing to Holden Heights.

The groundbreaking was at one of several properties acquired by the county after years of code violations led to a tax deed sale in 2017.

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“When we are able to take out the bad and put in the good, that really lifts the overall quality of living for the people who live here in the Holden Heights area,” Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said.

The first part of the project will build five homes on three empty lots near 25th street.  Project leaders said 19 homes will be built in the neighborhood in the next few years.

Catherine Steck McManus, who is the president and ceo of Habitat for Humanity Greater Orlando & Osceola County, said her organization helps potential homeowners who are facing financial struggles.

“Each of the homeowners that will purchase one of these 19 homes will pay no more than 30 percent of their gross household income on their mortgage, plus escrow,” she said.

The project began after a report from the U.S. National Home Price Index showed prices rose more than 19 percent in January from the year before.

“The jump is one that is going cause even more problems for people in the community trying to purchase a house,” McManus said.

The first five homes of the project are scheduled to be completed in late 2022.

For details on how to apply to become a homeowner, visit

About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.