DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The ribbon is cut and new tenants have moved into the Island Cove Apartments in Delray Beach.
The apartments are the area's newest affordable housing complex initiative by the city, the Delray Beach Housing Authority and the city's community redevelopment agency (CRA).
Maria Velasquez is among the residents who are calling the apartments home.
"I feel so grateful and so blessed," Velasquez said. "Because it [was] so hard for me to find a place here, extremely hard. I lived in a hotel for three months."
She moved from Wisconsin to Florida but couldn't find a place that was affordable or permanent for her and her two children.
That's before she passed the building site of Island Cove Apartments.
"When I passed and I saw the first construction, I said, 'God, please give me an opportunity in there. I'm going to pray every day on my knees,' and I'm here now," Velasquez said.
Island Cove is an affordable housing community that consists of 60 two- and three-bedroom apartments located at 900 Southwest 12th Avenue in Delray Beach.
Current rents start at $1,449 for a two-bedroom apartment and $1,674 for a three-bedroom.
This development is a collaboration of Delray Beach Housing Authority and the city's CRA, the state and private sector. It's the city's effort to add more affordable housing throughout its community.
"The city with its housing partners and its partner the CRA has brought 274 affordable housing units to Delray Beach in the last five years with hundreds more in the pipeline," Delray Beach Vice Mayor Ryan Boylston said.
Velasquez isn't the only one who's moved in recently.
"It's a new start, it's a new beginning," resident Briana Nichols said. "The first person to live in the apartment. It's like home."
Velasquez said the new home gives her security.
"I feel so, so, extremely happy," Velasquez said.