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HabiJax Receives ULI North Florida Award for New Town Success Zone

October 15th, 2014 · Leave a Comment

(L to R) Irvin “PeDro” Cohen, New Town Success Zone; Greg Matovina, HabiJax; Pam Paul, New Town Success Zone; Angela Leatherbury, HabiJax; Mary Kay O’Rourke, HabiJax; and Alfred Arzuaga, HabiJax

Habitat for Humanity of Jacksonville, Inc. (HabiJax) has been honored by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) North Florida with an Award for Excellence (Downtown Sector category) for The New Town Success Zone.

“We are thrilled and honored to be recognized by ULI North Florida for our work and partnerships in New Town,” said HabiJax President and CEO Mary Kay O’Rourke. “Our work in New Town has been extremely rewarding and we are so proud to assist in the revitalization of this historic neighborhood. We firmly believe in providing affordable housing to people in need so they may build better lives for their families.”

In 2011, utilizing more than 600 volunteers, HabiJax completed a visual assessment of more than 1,000 residential properties in the New Town area of Jacksonville. HabiJax embarked on a $16 million capital campaign to provide home ownership to 135 families and complete 300 renovation projects for homeowners already living in the neighborhood.

Since embarking on the campaign, HabiJax has partnered with almost 100 families who have purchased homes and completed more than 150 projects for existing homeowners in the neighborhood.

HabiJax partners with families whose income level is between 35 percent and 60 percent of the Area Median Income to purchase a home of their own with zero percent interest mortgage. Families that apply for a home must qualify for a mortgage with adequate income and acceptable credit. Families attend homeownership, budgeting and maintenance workshops. They make a down payment and contribute a minimum of 300 hours of “sweat equity” labor working on their home and other HabiJax homes. After purchasing the home, their mortgage payment is usually less than the cost of previous rent payments.

The HabiJax program is unduplicated in the Jacksonville area and fills an unmet need. In addition, HabiJax also provides services to low income and elderly homeowners to help with basic needed repairs with the goal of providing a safe and sustainable home for families to age-in-place.

The Awards for Excellence was started in 2012 to showcase ULI North Florida’s efforts in identifying and promoting the “Best Practices” in all aspects of real estate development and place making. The ULI District Council includes 34 counties from Flagler to Escambia including Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Pensacola and Panama City.

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