Income-based housing wait list remains long in Jacksonville as supply lags

As of last week, there were 162,991 applications on waiting lists for low income and affordable housing in Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Housing Authority.

Families can spend years on those lists, waiting for relief.

“We’re 35,000 units short of where we should be on affordable housing,” said Joshua Hicks, who is the director of affordable housing and community development for the city of Jacksonville.

He said it’s the result of people moving to Jacksonville and a lag in the building new housing following the 2008 financial crisis. The city is looking to reverse the shortage, offering financial incentives for developers to build affordable housing and even up to $50,000 in down payment assistance.

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The city currently has 2,000-3,000 affordable units in development, according to Hicks.

“I do imagine that 2,000 to 3,000 number that we’re at now will grow as the year moves forward, but…it takes 18 to 24 months from you know, shovel-ready to move in for a lot of these complexes,” he said.

He said people can remain on waiting lists for income-based housing in Jacksonville for up to five years.

“Hopefully three years for most, but three to five years would be would be the timeline, especially with the list where it is now,” he said.

One News4JAX viewer wrote in that they helped a family member on the waitlist in the past, saying, “It was horrible. On disability and we couldn’t find them anything under a 2-year wait list.”

“A lot of those folks who are on the waiting list currently have housing or are currently in, you know, some situation where they have a home, a roof over their head,” Hicks said.

He said for some, that means spending 50% or 60% of their income on rent, which is why developing more income-based housing and getting people off the waiting lists is imperative.

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