Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on September 10, 2017, and left this chain of islands with 1,200 homes destroyed and an additional 3,000 homes significantly damaged. As part of the recovery effort, Rural Neighborhoods (RN) will create three new neighborhoods in Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida. Community Housing Capital (CHC) provided $6.3 million for construction and permanent loans to the three phases of the project, Seahorse Cottages at Big Pine Key, Seahorse Cottages II at Big Pine Key, and Avenues at Big Pine Key. Constructed to State required hurricane-resistant standards, the workforce housing will have 31 elevated single-story modular homes on podiums. The affordable rentals are reserved for tenants earning 80% area median income (AMI) and extremely low-income tenants earning up to 25% AMI.
CHC’s $6.3 million construction/permanent financing was vital in obtaining an additional $6.47 million Community Development Block Grant loan from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) that required no debt service payments and will be forgiven at loan maturity. With CHC and FHFC funds ensuring affordability, RN will build the 31-storm resistant, single-family rental homes elevated above storm surge and sea level with one- and two-bedrooms, a children’s playground, and public space. Seahorse Cottages at Big Pine Key I and II and Avenues at Big Pine Key will be a scattered-site development, replacing the Seahorse RV Park on Big Pine Key, destroyed by the hurricane.