Florida is experiencing an affordable housing crisis. More than 900,000 Florida households spend over 50 percent of their income on housing and are just one missed paycheck from losing their home.
There is a real need for affordable housing in Apalachicola and the whole of Franklin County. The median household income in the city of Apalachicola is $40,953, that’s $10,000 below the median income for all Florida households. Forty percent of Franklin County residents spend 30 to 50 percent of their income on rent. The Eastpoint fire and Hurricane Michael impacted the amount of available housing locally, as well as jobs and the lives of Apalachicola residents. Additionally, demands placed on the seafood and timber industry have placed strains on the Franklin County residents.
Wendover Housing Partners, the company behind the Denton Cove proposal, develops and manages affordable housing communities throughout Florida and Georgia. These properties are in high demand. Wendover’s communities are not “housing projects” from a bygone era; they’re beautiful communities that residents are proud to call home. Our affordable communities are typically fully rented well before construction is complete, and people then fill up a waiting list to get apartments when they become available. Denton Cove’s amenities will include a furnished clubhouse, an internet café with computers, a splash pad, tot lot, an afterschool program for kids, in-unit washer and dryer and much more.
Denton Cove will provide a benefit to the local economy - a $12.8 million private investment in Apalachicola with an estimated $32 million in local economic impact. It is estimated the project would generate more than 100 construction jobs for nine months.
The positive support for Denton Cove speaks for itself.
Mayor Van Johnson stated in a letter to Florida Housing: “Franklin County is still reeling from the devastating economic hardship the citizens and community have experienced from the decimation of the oyster and seafood industry… An investment in the construction of a housing development will provide a stimulus to Apalachicola’s economy.”
Former Franklin County School Superintendent Nina Marks said in a letter to Florida Housing, “This project can, and will, have a positive economic impact on Franklin County, as we work through economic recovery. Providing a safe, adequate, and affordable place to live for those in the workforce will be a great stimulus to our economy.”
The Franklin County Seafood Workers Association said in a letter to Florida Housing: “This affordable housing project could not only provide affordable rental housing, it could also provide many needed jobs in our community. We urge you to support this project to help the hard-working people who labor in the seafood industry daily.”
We think the small but vocal group of people fighting the proposal is basing its opposition to Denton Cove on the misconception of what an affordable housing community is or can be for Apalachicola. We believe that any concerns will disappear when people learn more about the planned Denton Cove community.
We’re fully committed to Denton Cove because we know in the long run it will provide a tremendous number of community benefits, from affordable housing to jobs to tax dollars to attracting additional investment in the community.
Jonathan L. Wolf is founder and president of Wendover Housing Partners.