For over 30 years, I have worked in various capacities with Public Housing Authorities across the United States. In October of 2018, I purchased a home in Daytona Beach and began my new position with the Daytona Beach Housing Authority. Every Wednesday is my “beach day.” After work I head to the beach, always amazed at the beauty of the ocean, the feel of the sand under my feet, the sun and wind touching my skin. I am amazed that I can leave my office and, within 10 minutes, be in a virtual paradise. From my perspective, Daytona Beach offers a wealth of opportunities to our community, beginning with the beautiful setting we are blessed to call home. It is from this vantage point that I say, the road ahead for the Housing Authority, and by extension the greater Daytona Community, is bright.
The Daytona Beach Housing Authority, better known as the HACDB (Housing Authority City of Daytona Beach) provides housing assistance, via units owned and managed by the Authority, for more than 600 heads of households through our public housing program. Recently, we received approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in a program known as Rental Assistance Demonstration. This process will permit us to reposition our entire portfolio through substantial rehabilitation, new construction or demolition. It is estimated that the total project investment will be in the range of $50mil -$100mil. These funds will largely be leveraged from private investment, low income tax credits and debt. The final outcome will be the creation of new housing stock and the elimination of the 30-50 year old structures currently in our “public housing” portfolio. Congress has mandated protections for the current residents. In cases where individuals must be temporarily relocated while their property is renovated, their “right to return” is guaranteed. Our plans also include up to 300 additional units for low income persons, which will serve those earning up to 80% of the area median income which is $48,000 for a family of four.
We are excited about the possibilities this level of development offers the tenants we currently serve and the community at large. Approximately 20-30% of the project cost will be associated with more jobs, job training, and professional and skilled trades, such as architects, plumbers, electricians and general construction workers. In addition, products like windows, doors, cabinets and associated merchandise will be purchased. The economic impact to the larger Daytona Beach business community will be significant, but most importantly, this project will shed a positive light on the need for affordable housing and improve the living conditions of low income households in our area.
In addition to the public housing properties, HACDB administers a Housing Choice Voucher or Section 8 program. This program permits low income participants to select private market units in an area of their choice, allowing them to consider proximity to work, schools, churches, medical providers or other factors that are important to consider when determining where to live. The renter pays 30% of their adjusted gross income toward rent and HACDB pays the rest. Last year, we paid $7,777,297 to private landlords in Daytona Beach on behalf of 1,200 households. We recognize this as another significant impact to our community–supporting our program participants, local businesses and property owners.
HACDB also supports our Veterans. Through the VASH award, which is funded by HUD and provided in partnership with the Veterans Administration, we are able to provide 218 veterans with housing. Additionally, in partnership with the Continuum of Care and the Department of Children and Families, our agency was recently awarded $450mil to provide housing for 60 homeless disabled persons. These programs serve to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
Beyond housing, HACDB provides additional support to our residents. Through our Neighborhood Network Centers we offer a range of services – from continued education and workplace skill development programs for adults to tutoring and mentoring programs for children. We have also worked with the League of Women of Voters to conduct proper elections for our Resident Councils in our public housing communities. Resident Councils represent the communities who have elected them and are instrumental in ensuring that our residents have a voice–both within HACDB and in the Daytona community at large. Additional partners include community-based organizations, such as Career Source, Daytona State College and Healthy Start. They provide on-site programs that empower staff and residents alike.
Our most recent audit reflects a total Net Position of $54,889,293. In addition to the $7,777,297 in payments to private landlords on behalf of program participants, we expended $1,200,362 in maintenance at our public housing properties, and $2,192,755 in Administrative costs. Further, HACDB employs 35 full time staff. In as much as our mission is the provision of affordable housing, our business provides a significant financial impact to the Daytona Beach economy and community as a whole.
HACDB is well positioned to continue to purchase from local business and service providers, to provide employment and to support those Daytona residents whose income does not permit them to afford market rent payments. As our community manages this current crisis, we are proud to be able to continue to support the Daytona business community and residents – and in this way help to build a better community for us all. Ms. Bates is an affordable housing career professional with more than 30 years of experience. She has served public housing authorities in North and South Carolina, Detroit and Las Vegas in director and deputy executive director positions.