LAKELAND, Fla. — Seniors and veterans in Lakeland got to move into brand new homes on Wednesday, thanks to the Lakeland Housing Authority.

  • Micro-Cottages at Williamstown had been under construction for about a year
  • Community located north of I-4 on Kennedy Boulevard
  • 1st new housing development for Lakeland Housing Authority in 18 years
  • More Polk County stories 

The agency held a grand-opening for Micro-Cottages at Williamstown, located north of I-4 on Kennedy Boulevard near U.S. Highway 98. The 48 "micro-cottages" making up the community had been under construction for about a year.

It’s the first new housing development the Lakeland Housing Authority has built in 18 years. 

Ben Stevenson, Executive Director of the Lakeland Housing Authority, said there’s a severe affordable housing shortage and units like the cottages are very hard to come by. 

“For every 10 families that needs a housing unit, there’s only three units of affordable housing available, and all of properties stay at 99 percent occupancy,” Barfield said. 

Brad Barfield, one of the new residents, was at a loss for words looking at his brand new home. 

“I’m stunned. I mean looking at the apartment itself was great," Barfield said. "I said, 'this was going to be very nice. I could settle in here.' But then to come in here and find dishes and food, I mean, my gosh it's unreal.” 

Barfield lost his wife, son and dog in 2017. 

“I couldn’t afford the house anymore," he explained. "I let it go for less than half of what I bought it for. You know, you make due. You got to adapt.” 

The Navy veteran said he only has to pay $265 for his two-bedroom cottage in the new senior community. 

“It’s a godsend. It really is," Barfield said. "I’ve been ... 40 years ago, I didn’t have a roof over my head and you know, you get through it. It is what it is. I’m just glad that circumstances didn’t carry me back to that.”