Kissimmee offers free land to solve affordable housing crisis

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 01, 2018, 9:36 PM EST

Families in Osceola County are struggling to find affordable housing, but this may change as the City of Kissimmee is offering free land for affordable housing.

  • Kissimmee to offer land for affordable housing
  • 19-acre property is a decommissioned water plant
  • 3 developers have submitted proposals to the city

Brittnee Cox is a working, single mother of two kids living in Osceola County. When her rent went up significantly, she was forced to hit a hotel along U.S. 192.

To this day, Cox says she has not been able to find something she can afford, so she’s currently living with her mom.

“It’s very sad … very depressing,” Cox said.

The city is looking to solve the affordable housing crisis by donating terrain to any developer willing to build 100 to 400 rental units for low-income residents.

The 19-acre property is a decommissioned water plant owned by Toho Water Authority. It is near John Young Parkway, and development is supposed to be completed within the next two to three years.

“If you look at the stats within the school district and the number of homeless children within Osceola County, as well as the number of families that are living in our hotels and motels along the corridor, (I) can tell you that we cannot build enough housing for all of those who are in need,” said Desiree Matthews, Kissimmee’s deputy city manager.

Cox said between first month’s rent, last month’s rent, a security deposit, renters insurance and application fees, the dream of having a place to call home is shattered. For her, affordable housing can’t come soon enough.

“It would be wonderful. It would help out so many families get them out of the streets, out of hotels,” Cox said. “To where they can actually have a decent life, a decent start on something to where they are not struggling and drowning and feel like they are nothing, and they can’t succeed in the world.”

The city said affordable housing has always been a priority for them and more so now, with the influx of Puerto Ricans hitting the county.

So far, three developers have submitted proposals and the city is looking at two very qualified options to move forward with this project.