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Lake Worth Beach to receive $750,000 for affordable housing

City officials worth to alleviate ongoing housing crisis
Posted at 4:23 PM, Jul 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 17:38:06-04

LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — Rents and home prices continue to keep many in South Florida feeling priced out of paradise.

Lake Worth Beach is making a push to make living more affordable as everyday people struggle to find a place to call home.

WPTV spoke to a man named Thomas on Lake Avenue on Monday who discussed his struggle to find a place to live.

"I'm looking for [a place to live for] like $750, $800, $900 [a month] maximum," Thomas said. "I found something for like $1,500."

Renting or buying a home in South Florida has become a bigger obstacle in the past few years.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Priced Out of Paradise

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Sarah Malega
Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Sarah Malega discusses what the city is doing to provide housing for residents that they can afford.

Lake Worth Beach City Commissioner Sarah Malega was among those who took part in a Monday announcement with U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.

The city will receive $750,000 in federal money to boost a Lake Worth Beach program to build more affordable housing.

"My friend just sold a two-bedroom, one bath -- a little over 700 square feet -- for $390,000," Malega said.

Brent Whitfield, with the Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, showed off a map highlighting blocks along Lake and Lucerne avenues targeted for what he calls attainable housing.

Brent Whitfield, vice chair of the Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency
Brent Whitfield shows the areas that the Lake Worth Beach Community Redevelopment Agency is targeting for affordable housing.

"We're looking at eight properties we're doing right now with Community Land Trust that will be single-family homes to buy," Whitfield said. "There's 80 units we're looking to do for rentals, so really it's a mix of homeownership options and rental options for folks that are making less than 120% of the area-wide median income."

Some of this type of housing already exists in Lake Worth Beach.

Malega bought a home through the program 10 years ago.

"That's one of our hot buttons. ... We don't need more unattainable housing," Malega said. "Our goal is affordable homeownership and breaking the generational wealth gap."

Real estate experts said affordable housing extends well beyond Lake Worth Beach. Not enough buildings to keep up with demand will keep prices high, but the city is trying to stop other residents from losing their homes.