According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an advocacy group for low income families in the United States, average monthly fair market rent in Volusia County is $850 for a one-bedroom and $1475 for a three-bedroom. As one can imagine, for homes in desirable locations like beachside and walkable neighborhoods, rent averages are much higher.
Residents working in the largest occupations (food prep/fast food, cashiers and housekeepers) earning median wages would need to work approximately 80 to 135 hours per week in order to afford a modest place to live. Thankfully, Volusia locals in need can apply for affordable housing through the New Smyrna Beach Housing Authority.
The New Smyrna Beach Housing Authority (NSBHA), established in the community in 1950, has 126 apartment units that serve families, seniors and disabled residents. There are four unit areas that are maintained by the NSBHA and offered at a reasonable rental rate because of federal funding by Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The NSBHA issues a total of 338 Housing Choice Vouchers, formerly Section 8, in all areas of Volusia County including New Smyrna Beach, Port Orange, Edgewater and Oak Hill. The vouchers are majority tenant based. Ten of the vouchers are issued to homeless veterans and 75 Mainstream Vouchers are for non-elderly disabled tenants ranging in age from 18 to 61 years old. The Housing Choice Voucher’s landlord receives a federal subsidy from HUD, keeping the monthly rent affordable for the tenant.
In 2017, the NSBHA established a 501(c)(3) nonprofit agency, the New Smyrna Beach Housing Development Corporation. Since forming, the corporation has purchased two, three-bedroom single family homes and built a senior duplex that fully complies with the American Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements as an accessible home. Construction plans for another senior duplex is scheduled to be completed in May 2020.
“The duplexes are being built with funds from the County of Volusia SHIP program, the City of New Smyrna Beach’s CRA, and private funds from the corporation,” explains Teresa Pope, the Executive Director of the NSBHA. “The new homes being built are primarily in the historic westside neighborhood in New Smyrna Beach as part of a neighborhood stabilization, but can be built or purchased anywhere in Volusia County.”
On December 20, 2019, the NSBHA hosted a second annual Christmas party for the families that live in public housing units. There are 165 children who live in the communities. The party was so the NSBHA could show appreciation for the families that make up the communities. The gathering was hosted at the Housing Authority’s Resource Center, located at 1101 S. Dixie Freeway in New Smyrna Beach.
Pope stated many local businesses sponsored the party and even graciously donated presents to the families in need. The children were able to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus, select presents of their own and participate in holiday crafts and face painting.
To find out more about how to apply, available vouchers and locations, call (386) 428-8171 or visit NewSmyrnaHousing.com.