Community Leaders Announce $100 Million Fund to Address Local Housing Crisis

Today Central Florida Foundation and the Central Florida Regional Housing Trust (CFRHT) announce the establishment of the Housing Impact Fund, an effort of CFRHT’s Central Florida Housing Action Team (CFHAT), to implement creative funding solutions to address the housing crisis in Orlando. With over 1,500 people moving to the region every week and approximately 48% of residents spending half their paycheck on housing, the problem worsens every day.

Local business leaders have spearheaded the efforts of CFHAT, convened by Central Florida Foundation, with Rob Panepinto, local business leader and Foundation board member serving as chair of the team.

“Private capital is one of the key factors in solving the housing crisis in Orlando,” said Rob Panepinto, chair of the CFHAT. “To actually make change happen, we must connect the private capital to changes in government policy to create a community where housing is attainable for its residents – one sector cannot do it alone.”

The unique partnership includes more than 35 regional leaders from a variety of industries including: banking & finance, real estate & development, major employers, universities, philanthropy and local jurisdictions. The group analyzed data on the issue and has proposed a response to the housing crisis driven by the private sector.

“As a longtime affordable housing advocate and the former executive director of a bank-led affordable housing consortium, I know how valuable it is to have the input of the region’s largest financial institutions to help find a solution,” said Sandy Hostetter, Central Florida regional president of SunTrust now Truist. “We aren’t the only state with an affordable housing crisis, and collectively, we are able to tap into nationwide expertise to look at models that can be adapted to help us with the unique challenges we face here in Central Florida. This may be surprising to some, but the truth is that even though we compete head-to-head on a daily basis, we work quite well together on our shared commitment to the community we call home.”

The solution is to incentivize the creation of many more homes, both single-family and multi-family, for sale and for rent, across a broad range of prices, in neighborhoods throughout Central Florida. Financial incentives will be driven by the Housing Impact Fund with $100 million of equity, debt, and philanthropy and subsidy. The fund is now actively raising capital.

The priorities of the fund include:

  • Building and preserving quality homes, close to good jobs, schools, and other community amenities, at prices that fit comfortable in the household budget, no matter one’s stage of life or income
  • Reducing the number of residents who spend more than half their income on housing, with a special focus on low to moderate income residents
  • To build, renovate and/or rescue 25,000 affordable homes over the next ten years
  • To focus on scalable solutions
  • To work in cooperation with all Central Florida jurisdictions

Our community is known for using the power of partnership to address challenges facing our community,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “I am grateful to all the partners involved in creating this innovative financial solution that will advance the construction of much-needed housing that is affordable to residents at all income levels.”

The CFHAT and the Housing Impact Fund are an integral part of a comprehensive regional approach led by the Central Florida Regional Housing Trust. Bright Community Trust, the state’s leading nonprofit housing trust, has helped Central Florida regional partners plan this initiative over the last three years, and will now manage the CFRHT.

“We are proud to work with such an engaged set of partners, with a strong regional vision, who are deeply committed to the generational work of improving people’s access to good homes that fit comfortably in their budget, regardless of their earnings,” said Frank Wells, chief executive officer of the Central Florida Regional Housing Trust. “Getting housing right gives employers access to the workforce they need to grow their businesses and continue to drive a thriving economy of shared prosperity.”

“It takes true commitment across all sectors to make real change happen at a systemic level,” said Mark Brewer, president/CEO of Central Florida Foundation. “Now is the time to get involved and make the housing crisis a thing of the past for good.”