‘I can pay my rent:’ New affordable housing in Sanford provides stability, revitalizes community

More affordable units set to open

A new affordable housing community that recently opened in Sanford is helping solve the affordability crisis while revitalizing the historic Goldsboro neighborhood.

SANFORD, Fla. – A new affordable housing community that recently opened in Sanford is helping solve the affordability crisis while revitalizing the historic Goldsboro neighborhood.

Alexus Edwards said it wasn’t long ago the single mother struggled to find steady housing. She said she lived in a trailer, shelter and transitional housing.

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“I just felt so unstable,” Edwards said. “After a lot of praying, I called the suicide line, ‘Can you help me get through this?’”

Clara Taylor also spent a few months in a shelter. She said she lives on a fixed income and had difficulty finding a place she could afford.

“It’s a struggle for an older person, you know, limited income and just trying to get something you can afford and stay there,” Taylor said.

Both women eventually found stability and security at Monroe Landings.

It is a new affordable housing community in Sanford that opened in April. The apartment complex is giving them the opportunity to plant roots and have a place to call their own.

“There’s times where I open up the windows and I say, “Ah, this is mine,’” Edwards said.

Wendover Housing Partners built the new complex on land owned by the Sanford Housing Authority in the historic Goldsboro neighborhood. There used to be public housing on the site, but it was demolished a decade ago. The new complex is the first large-scale development in the area in more than 20 years.

Sanford City Commissioner Kerry Wiggins said it is going to revitalize the community.

“And all that will do is pick things back up, pick back up the value of the property, opportunity wise to bring more businesses in, create different opportunities for our citizens to be able to have as well,” Wiggins said.

The first phase of the project is 60 units.

Ryan von Weller with Wendover said in order to qualify, tenants must make less than 60% of the annual median income, which in Central Florida is $80,000.

“A one bedroom at a 60% level somewhere in the $900s usually, two bedroom little over $1,000, up to about $1,200 for a three bedroom,” von Weller said.

von Weller said if tenants make less, then their rent rates are lower. He adds they’re also breaking ground on the second phase of the project this summer. The plans include building 84 affordable units next door to Monroe Landings at Somerset Landings.

von Well said this is making a dent in the affordability crisis.

“To provide even at a small scale these developments is critical. it’s not going to solve the issue on its own,” von Weller said. “Each one of these that we build or one of our competitors builds in the marketplace certainly helps alleviate the stress.”

The community is also giving residents peace of mind knowing they can pay for the roofs over their heads.

“We can’t afford rent on the outside world. I don’t get much, so I have to stretch it,” Taylor said. “It’s affordable for me because I can pay my rent myself and that feels good saying I can pay my rent.”

von Weller said construction at Somerset Landings should take about a year. There are also two more pieces of property nearby the community the housing authority also owns that will one day be used to build more affordable housing.