computer rendering of an affordable housing development

Maintaining housing affordability in South Florida

The demand for affordable housing in South Florida was already strong prior to the onset of the pandemic. Factors such as the current seller’s market, record-low housing inventory numbers, supply chain disruptions impacting construction prices, and the year-over-year rise in home prices alongside continued in-migration and a recovering state and national economy reinforce the need for affordable housing options in a post-COVID world.

The situation may look dire but South Florida’s development and design community is keen on maintaining affordability for buyers and renters via different avenues. From design-led innovations that prioritize affordable building methods to maximizing state and national development incentives and tax credits, the solution to affordability housing in South Florida, and the state for that matter, will require a multifaceted and multidisciplinary approach.

Extracting the benefits of the local zoning ordinances is key in finding the suitable balance between market rate and affordable housing components for new developments, Flux Architects Partner Allen Vandersluis told Invest. Flux Architects’ service model is to review with developers and zoning authorities all possible affordable housing incentives, which can include an increase in the number of units and floor area, additional floors and even reduced parking, Vandersluis said.

“This creates a great opportunity for our clients to capitalize on these incentives. It increases surrounding property value, adds increased wealth into the community and assists municipalities with the need and demand for affordable housing. Ultimately, these projects provide people and communities the opportunity to have affordable living, services, lifestyle amenities, a diversified financial and safer community to live in. Developers also like to focus on cities with underdeveloped properties.  This ‘infill model’ reduces development impact on the environment, provides a more localized service demand for utilities, police, fire department and personal services and helps limit development on land vital to our natural resources and biological habitats,” he said.

When working with clients such as Housing Trust Group (HTG), Verdot Capital and Miami-Dade’s Public Housing and Community Development agency, these entities already have affordability and the creation of dynamic public and commercial spaces in mind. “This benefits the project’s occupants and their lifestyle and helps us design and build better communities,” Vandersluis said. Currently, Flux Architects and HTG are working on the programming and concept design phase of a five-story, 80-unit,

affordable housing apartment project for HTG in Bradenton, Florida. “HTG’s business model for that project requires Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) funding and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to make their projects feasible and requires low income, affordable or workforce housing components to qualify for these tax credits and financing,” he said.


Alleviating the Affordability Squeeze

Pandemic-related job losses coupled with South Florida’s penchant for attracting residents and businesses are among the factors exacerbating demand for affordable housing. “Demand for affordable housing in South Florida was already strong but it went through the roof during the pandemic. A lot of people, such as service workers, cruise line and hotel employees lost their jobs, so there was this huge surge in the number of people who income-qualify for affordable housing for the first time ever,” Housing Trust Group President and CEO Matthew A. Rieger told Invest. “We still have long waiting lists at our South Florida affordable communities. And while the economy is beginning to recover, more people are moving into Florida every day so the pressure is still on. Demand far exceeds affordable housing supply.”

Housing Trust Group is a full-service developer of multifamily residential communities across Florida, the Sunbelt and Arizona. The group has a bevy of new, affordable communities opening in South Florida later this year. “In Miami-Dade County, we’re wrapping up construction on Max’s Landing, which will deliver 76 affordable apartments in Kendall, and Father Marquess-Barry Apart

96-unit mixed-income community in the heart of Downtown Hollywood. Village View, a 100-unit affordable community for seniors in Fort Lauderdale, is opening this summer. In fall, HTG will complete Heron Estates Family, delivering 79 new, affordable townhomes to the Palm Beach County community of Riviera Beach. Flagler Station, a 94-unit affordable community in Downtown West Palm Beach, is under construction and scheduled to open in early 2022.”

Maximizing incentives and tax credits is instrumental to the successful development of HTG’s projects and may help bridge the nationwide inventory gap. “The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is critical. Without tax credit financing, we couldn’t make the math work and we’d have to charge market rate rents to cover the cost of land, construction and operations of a multifamily property. There is widespread bipartisan support for the expansion of the tax credit program, which is in our opinion the best way to close the gap between affordable housing supply and demand in the United States,” Rieger said.

Similarly, the Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida (NHSSF) is working toward alleviating the affordability challenges in the market. “Even before the pandemic started, South Florida suffered from a lack of affordable and workforce housing inventory that could be accessed by low- and moderate-income buyers,“ CEO Kimberly Henderson told Invest:. “In addition to historic record-low interests, rapidly rising buyer demand from other states and countries looking to relocate or invest in South Florida has put more pressure on this existing housing crisis. Finally, it is possible that the rise in construction costs due to supply chain issues fostered by COVID-19 is also helping to drive prices up as builders are unable to get inventory into the market at the lower price points. We see a real-estate frenzy with houses with median listed prices jumping 20-30% from a year earlier, which implies that ‘affordability’ is now farther out of reach than ever before,” she said.

To that end, NHSSF is employing the twofold approach of creating new, affordable products and providing mortgage and financing options to meet the rising market demand. “In partnership with Flux Architects, we recently submitted an RFP to the city of Miami, where we plan to develop eight units for low- and moderate-income buyers,” Henderson said. “In our existing inventory, we also have three lots for which we can build six single-family new construction homes with an initial price below $300,000, which is still unaffordable to many of our clients without additional subsidies. We are always in pursuit of land or houses that we can rehab and make available to low-wealth families. Further, NHSSF offers one of the best residential mortgage products available, called Champs, which helps put first-home buyers on the path of homeownership,” she said.



Writer: Felipe Rivas/Capital Analytics.

For the complete and original note that appeared on Capital Analytics on June 10th please follow the link:

Photo Credit: Wynwood Senior Housing RFP Proposal | Client: NHSSF & SFCLT

a girl with a laptop searches online

“A fabulous team that helped [me] every step of the way”

Natalie found the NHSSF Emergency Relief Program for Housing Stabilization online. She was searching for rental assistance for Broward residents since she saw a cut in her funds due to Covid-19 and was unable to pay her rent for a few months.

She applied for the program in middle March. After a brief email exchange with our intake processor, in early April she was approved to receive the financial aid that helped her immensely to caught up on her back rent: “Having that huge debt of past due rent is now off my shoulders and I can relax now.”

As part of the program, available for Broward County residents thanks to the support from the Jerry Taylor and Nancy Bryant Fund of the Community Foundation of Broward, Natalie received counseling from one of our housing experts. The additional coaching assistance provided her with the tools and information necessary to stabilize her housing situation.

“I have not previously had counseling sessions, but this one was very helpful and informative. I greatly appreciate the advice and guidance for my future financial needs,” says Natalie when asked about the takeaways from the one-on-one session with us

“I’d like to add, that I am very grateful to the entire team that worked my case and helped my family. From Annye to Luz and everyone there; and I am extremely grateful for intake specialist Melissa Clark! She called me, sent emails and made sure to get all my documents your team needed to provide the assistance. I absolutely don’t know how I would handle it, if I didn’t receive the assistance. Again THANKS!!!!!”

Thank you again, Natalie, for your trust, and we are happy to have helped you every step of the way!

Neighborhood Housing Services of South Florida

President’s Message

November 3, 2020


Kimberly T. Henderson, President & CEO of NHSSFI will go to bed tonight anxious, nervous, with a heavy heart, with so much uncertainty around who will be our next President, and when will we know.   Leading up to the elections there were news reports of businesses boarding up, family members begging me to stay home, and friends asking why I went to work. My friends and family fear for my safety, especially now that I live in a battle ground state.

My worries drifted to our collective future.  How do we heal after such an angry election? More importantly, how did we get here?  To this level of division?  Of course, this division has been at least a decade in the making, the culture wars, the “inside the Beltway bubble” lobbed at the Washington elite, the derisive “oh those liberal coastal elites” and then the characterizing U.S. states as Red States and Blue States as if we were tribes.  Even my once apolitical sister is clear that she will defriend Trump supporters in real life not just on social media.

I know we can make our way to the centrist America I came to love.  Left or right, conservative or liberal, Dem or Republican we can work together for a better City, State, and Country.  We can bridge these divisions and we must heal.  The world is watching.

Post-election, we will have a lot of work to do to build equitable neighborhoods, to address the affordable housing crisis crippling South Florida and as at least, one person likes to say we will build back better.


Kimberly T. Henderson
President & CEO