According to the Orlando Sentinel, Orange County, which includes the city of Orlando, recently approved a plan that could create 30,300 new places to live and inject $160 million into affordable housing projects. The plan has been approved by the Orange County Commission and was devised by the Housing for All task force, a group created by Orlando's mayor Jerry Demings that includes representatives from Universal Orlando, Disney World, realtors, architects, and leaders from nonprofits and hospitals.

“I have no delusions here that we were going to solve poverty ...” Demings said. “Their [the task force’s] charge was really to come forward with a plan of action ... to address the lack of housing that is affordable in our community. I would urge you to exercise a bit of patience and understanding that this is just the beginning of a very lengthy process."

The plan, among other things, calls for relaxing the county’s zoning codes to allow for more diverse housing; giving bonuses to developers who build in neighborhoods most in need of housing; developing a strategy to preserve rent-restricted units; and establishing a loan fund for nonprofits to build housing.

Members of the task force have called it the “most comprehensive housing plan developed by the county to date.” However, some members of the community and the advocacy group Organize Florida have criticized it as shallow, pointing out that while it creates additional housing it does not address the needs of extremely low-income renters or the homeless.

Read More