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HabiJax To Begin Construction On 50-Unit Affordable Tiny House Project

Rendering of tiny house
HabiJax
/

Construction is set to begin next week on an affordable housing project on Jacksonville’s Westside. 

The project, being built by Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville - also known as HabiJax - and the Northeast Florida Builders Association, will contain 50 tiny homes at the intersection of Navaho Avenue and Wiley Street. 

Job losses and foreclosures due to the pandemic have destabilized Jacksonville’s low-income population and increased the need for affordable housing, according to HabiJax President and CEO Monte Walker. 

“It seems that this, right now, is probably a peak in terms of need for affordable housing, not just in Jacksonville, but around the country,” said Walker.

HabiJax originally planned to break ground on the development in the fall of 2020 but was delayed due to rainy weather. 

The rental units will be owned by an affiliated organization, Navaho-HRDC, which is registered to HabiJax’s recently retired CEO Mary K. O’Rourke. Rent will be based on income, and tenants will be referred through existing social service agencies. 

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 70% of low-income Florida households are considered “housing cost-burdened,” meaning they spend at least 30% of household income on rent. 

That figure has likely been worsened by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic as many Floridians have lost income since the coalition’s figures were published. 

Florida has a shortage of approximately 400,000 homes for very low-income people, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. 

Sydney Boles can be reached at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.