SARASOTA (WWSB) - As the affordable housing crisis spans the nation and more specifically the Suncoast, one organization is trying to increase the number of homeowners in Sarasota and Manatee counties. For Shaguanda Platt, it was a journey that took roughly three years. “I just can’t describe it. it’s just a great feeling. I never thought that this day would come.”, said Platt.
The day also came for Arlene Nieves--who was once homeless. “I told myself it will never happen to me again. I will work for my own house.”, said Nieves.
And it came in a big way for both families. As homeowners, their monthly payment will be under 1-thousand dollars. All with the help of the not-for-profit organization Community Solutions 360. “we can provide first time homebuyers with a brand new home with down payment assisstance to keep their payment affordable.”, said President Laura Carter says they’ve completed more than 140 homes in Sarasota and Manatee counties, utilizing more than 27-million dollars of government funding. Which includes a collaboration between the city and the county, providing homeowners more than 7-million in down payment assistance. A process that Carter says will increase value and remove blight from a community. Parker said, “They’re not just a renter apt to leave tomorrow. They are going to stay here and put roots down and it will affect the community at large because they provide the services we need to make our community run.”
Even Goodwill Industries of Manasota playing a part in the affordable home buying process. “They can help families prepare for that financial burden. they help people know what their credit score is and repair their credit score. They talk with people about budgeting, setting up a savings account..we make many referrals to Laura’s program because we have team members who are interested in home ownership too.”
And without it, Nieves says her family would have been lost.
“I don’t think we would have ever gotten a home. as high as the prices....we would have never been able to afford this.”