The Alachua County Board of County Commissioners authorized the donation of 11 county-owned lots to Habitat for Humanity Tuesday.
Over the next several years, affordable housing will be built for qualifying families on the lots, located in the Hammock Oaks subdivision, according to Scott Winzeler, executive director for Alachua County Habitat for Humanity.
A qualifying family is one that demonstrates a need for affordable housing, proves they’ve been living in Alachua County and shows they’d be willing to partner with Habitat for Humanity. The move will be beneficial for both the county and families as the lots will generate property tax income once they are put back on the tax roll.
In their current state, the lots are not generating any county property tax revenue at all, according James Harriott, deputy county manager.
Once families take ownership of the homes, revenue will be produced as they will now have to pay taxes on their property and home, he said.
Harriott also explained the lots located in Hammock Oaks are unusually well suited for future homes because they were developed as a subdivision and possess important infrastructure such as streets.
“It’s not common that it’s like this” Harriott said. “I’ve worked and donated land to Habitat programs in other communities that I’ve worked for, and sometimes they don’t have the streets or the lots aren’t plotted, they’re not ready to be turned over in ownership yet.”
However, it is a misconception that Alachua Habitat for Humanity simply gives out houses, Winzeler said. Once the families have made their applications for affordable housing and been approved, they will have to put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity into the completion of their home and others as well.
Furthermore, the families put in a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. Monthly mortgage payments are also used to build more Habitat houses.
“They have a chance to pay it forward,” Winzeler said.