Aiming to stabilize and revitalize neighborhoods by placing vacant, bank-owned properties on the tax rolls, putting construction tradesmen back to work, and providing residential housing options, the St. Johns County Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is part of the County’s overall housing strategy and community-development effort.
“St. Johns County is pleased to participate in a program that provides housing for our most vulnerable families, develop quality partnerships and non-profit agency capacity, and place construction tradesmen back to work,” said St. John’s County Housing and Community Development Manager Benjamin Coney.
Appropriated $2.5 million in 2009 to acquire and renovate 17 bank-owned, single-family homes, the County began property disposition in 2011. Since then, the County offered eight of these properties for sale at market discounts to eligible homebuyers and with down-payment assistance. The remaining nine properties were allocated as below-market rentals for families. The County acquired an additional six properties by using the income generated from the original resale transactions. These properties, when ready, will similarly be rented or listed for sale. All properties will transfer ownership as soon as renovations are complete and sales contracts are executed.
Once renovated, the properties provide housing for very-low-income to moderate-income households. Recipients included nurses, teachers, cashiers, sales associates, and residents with other workforce occupations. The NSP program also met local and national objectives by providing housing for elderly residents, working families, and single parents with dependent children. Target neighborhoods included St. Augustine South, Ravenswood, West Augustine, S.R. 16 and S.R. 207 sub-divisions, Hastings, and Vermont Heights.
Collaboration between the St. Johns County Housing and Community Development Division, the SJC Housing Finance Authority (program developer), and the St. Johns Housing Partnership (rental property manager) created this successful and productive housing model that is recognized as one of the more successful NSP programs in state of Florida.