From August 30 through September 2, 2015, staff members from the Pensacola Housing Office attended the 28th Annual Statewide Affordable Housing Conference in Orlando, presented by the Florida Housing Coalition (FHC), a nonprofit organization that provides training and technical assistance on affordable housing issues throughout the state.
During the conference, the Housing Office was proud to be one of several Florida affordable housing providers recognized as a State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program success story.
The SHIP program provides funds to local governments to produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. Pensacola Housing was commended as a model for leveraging SHIP funds in the local community during Fiscal Year 2015.
In response to the recognition, Marcie Whitaker, Pensacola Housing Administrator, spoke to the program’s flexibility and ability to form partnerships. She highlighted several recent projects in our community that have benefited from SHIP funding, including the Pathways for Change Clinton Cox Residence, which provides housing to individuals transitioning from treatment for drug and alcohol problems back into society; a partnership with ARC Gateway that supported the rehabilitation of six group homes, thus allowing residents with developmental disabilities to comfortably age in place; and Fairfield Manor, one of the newest affordable rental developments in the area, where SHIP funds were targeted to assist five families with special needs.
Pensacola Housing employees Marcie Whitaker and Tracy Pickens (3rd and 4th left)
receive the award from FHC’s Jaimie Ross and Ed Busansky.
The City of Pensacola and Escambia County have worked together to administer a SHIP program since the area began receiving grant funds in the early 1990s. For every dollar of SHIP funding spent locally, approximately five dollars in private sector investment is leveraged.
Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) administers the SHIP program for the state. To be eligible to participate in the program, local governments prepare a Local Housing Assistance Plan, which presents strategies that will be used to address the housing needs of the area. The City of Pensacola and Escambia County will be updating the Escambia/Pensacola Local Housing Assistance Plan in 2016. The public is encouraged to participate in this process.
The Affordable Housing Conference drew more than 700 attendees interested in supporting and promoting affordable housing throughout Florida, including developers, bankers, non-profits, and governmental agencies that administer SHIP programs.