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WPB Mayor Keith James Announces Competitive Bidding for City Security Contract

Mayor James announces that the City's security contract, recently awarded to PSC, will now go out to bid.

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WPB CRA and HCD Partner with Habitat for Humanity to Build Homes in Targeted Neighborhoods
Lot donations and incentives bringing 13 new homeowners into Historic Northwest & Pleasant City neighborhoods
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 27, 2019) – The West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) have partnered with Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County (Habitat) over the past three years to bring homeownership to some of the city’s key redevelopment districts.  The CRA is donating property valued at approximately $195K to Habitat for Humanity for new homes in the Historic Northwest and Pleasant City neighborhoods.  The agency has already transferred eight lots in these districts, and is in the process of transferring five additional lots in Pleasant City to Habitat that will result in a total of 13 new homes. 
This is part of the City’s overall strategy to donate vacant unused lots to organizations like Habitat for Humanity to create homeownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families.  HCD worked with Habitat on providing development fee waivers that further lowered the costs of the housing to make them affordable.  “We are constantly striving to improve the quality of life of City residents through a variety of housing and homeownership programs,” said Armando Fana, City of WPB HCD Director.  “This partnership with the CRA and Habitat gives us one more opportunity to provide affordable housing along with social and economic opportunities in these targeted neighborhoods.”   
Creating single-family housing through infill development, improving housing stock and getting generational renters into homeownership are all part of the CRA’s mission to generate economic development in targeted areas throughout West Palm Beach.  The WPB CRA has sponsored eight new homes in the Pleasant City and Historic Northwest neighborhoods by donating the previously owned CRA land to Habitat for Humanity.  As the parcels remained vacant over several years, the CRA acquired them for infill development, to develop the vacant parcels with existing urban infrastructure and fill the gaps in these neighborhoods.  Habitat then partners with families in need to build single homes together using volunteer labor financial and material donations.  The partnership is bringing the dream of homeownership to families who may not otherwise be able to purchase a home, and spurring economic development in these areas by creating new homeowners who are invested in their community.
Habitat is also dedicated to building simple, decent, affordable homes and bringing strength, stability and self-reliance to new homeowners.  The relationship also helps both organizations address housing needs in targeted CRA neighborhoods and encourages redevelopment in these areas by strengthening the community.  The ultimate goal is empowering new homeowners to create a better life for themselves, their families and their community, making an impact that will last for generations.
“This has been a very symbiotic partnership to help address specific needs and revitalize these important neighborhoods,” said Jon Ward, Executive Director of the WPB CRA. “The donated land has been a critical first step to construct affordable new homes in these areas and to establish homeowners who have a real, long-standing stake in what happens in their back yard.” 
Bernard Godek, Habitat for Humanity CEO, continued, “We have been thrilled to be able to partner with the WPB CRA on so many new homes in West Palm Beach.  With their generous property donations, we in turn can provide new homes for deserving families who will help these communities succeed.”  
As with all Habitat for Humanity homes, the CRA sponsored homes are sold to qualified families at no profit and financed with affordable, zero-interest loans.  Each Habitat family is also required to invest a minimum of 400 “sweat equity” hours of their own labor before being eligible to purchase their home.  The homeowners are responsible for the monthly mortgage payment, and the revenue received from the mortgage payments is used to support Habitat’s programs.
The new homes built to date from donated CRA lots include:
  • 801 5th Street, The Jordan Family
  • 805 5th Street, The Auguste Family
  • 809 5th Street, The Ortiz Family
  • 712 6th Street, The McCray Family
  • 716 6th Street, The Teal Family
  • 409 16th Street, The Belizaire Family
  • 405 16th Street, The Nelson Family
  • 544 18th Street, The Thompson Family
 The WPB CRA is in the process of conveying the following five properties to Habitat:
  • 542 21st Street
  • 534 19th Street
  • 507 17th Street
  • 511 17th Street
  • 514 16th Street
 The development agreements for the five additional lots should be complete within the next few weeks.  Construction on these lots is expected to be complete in the spring of 2020, with more deserving families moving into brand new homes in the Pleasant City neighborhood.
About the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
Nationally recognized as one of the most innovative CRAs in the country, the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) sets the standard for redevelopment through award - winning marketing and branding campaigns, events and attractive business incentive programs. The mission of the CRA is to enhance the viability, long‐term stability and the overall economic health of the Downtown City Center and Northwood Pleasant City districts, the core of the City of West Palm Beach. For more about the Community Redevelopment Agency, call 561-822-1550 or visit wpb.org/cra.   
About the City of West Palm Beach Housing and Community Development Dept.
The City of West Palm Beach Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) strives to improve the quality of life of City residents through the development of housing, social, and economic opportunities.  For more, please visit: wpb.org.
About Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County
Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, founded in 1986, is a non-profit organization dedicated to building strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.  Each Habitat partner family is required to invest a minimum of 400 sweat equity hours of their own labor into the construction of homes before being eligible to purchase their home utilizing a 30-year, no-profit, no-interest loan. The affiliate’s service area extends from Hypoluxo Road in the south to the Martin County line in the north, and from Palm Beach to Lake Okeechobee.  For more information about Habitat for Humanity of Palm Beach County, please visit www.habitatpbc.org or call Amy Brand, Chief Development Officer at (561) 253-2080.