THE ISSUE: Inverness affordable-housing project underway.
OUR OPINION: Public officials, civic leaders must come together.
Work on the proposed affordable housing complex in Inverness has begun, and the Green Mills Group anticipates the
104-unit project to be completed between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2020.
It’s a good step in solving the affordable-housing crisis that has been growing for years not just in Citrus County, but across the nation. Still, more needs to be done locally. In its long-range planning, Citrus 2030 believes its vital county and civic leaders address the shortfall.
Simple. Family income levels have not kept pace with the rising costs of homeownership and its associated expenses like insurance, utilities, property taxes and transportation.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median monthly homeowner costs including mortgage is $992 for Citrus County. With a median gross income per household of $40,500, a family would have to spend just under 30% of their monthly income on their mortgage payment. They might be able to swing that, but saving for a 10% down payment on a home is likely out of the question at that income level. The median home value in Citrus County is $117,400, which means a family would have to save $11,740 to get to that affordable mortgage rate.
It is critical we also get the stigma that affordable housing is low-income. That’s not the case. The term covers households earning 60% to 120% of the area median income.
The greater portion of Citrus County residents fall into that category and they include our teachers, firefighters, police officers, tradesmen and retail workers — basically the core fabric of the community.
It is vital that elected officials, civic leaders, developers, Realtors and civic organizations come together to discuss how “we as a community” can get it done. If it means creating tax breaks or incentives for developers who plan such projects, earmarking suitable acreage, we cannot just talk about the issue, the rubber must meet the road.