‘It was a big win’: Affordable housing heading to West Augustine community

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — New affordable housing is headed to a St. Johns community thanks to a recent county commission vote.

Action News Jax spoke with West Augustine community leaders who say this plan has been in the works since 2003.

They were thrilled to learn commissioners finally approved this resolution.

“It was a big win for the West Augustine community,” says Robert Nimmons, chairman of the West Augustine Redevelopment Agency.

Nimmons is excited for much-needed affordable housing to come to West Augustine.

“We came up with a plan with affordable housing, and we wanted to keep it where it was homegrown,” says Nimmions.

According to Nimmons, they plan to bring 120 parcels to the West Augustine area.

He says the project could start quickly.

“It can take anywhere from eight months to maybe a year to pull this off,” says Nimmions.

Nimmons says each house could cost residents $240,000 to $275,000, which is lower than the average sale price for a new home in St. Johns County.

Only those making up to 140% of the area’s median income — or $83,000 dollars, according to Nimmons — will be eligible for the new housing.

“The first thing was to get the resolution passed. The second is incentives, down payment assistance, and other things that are out there for the residents to take advantage of,” says Nimmons.

I spoke with Danashia Hunter, a mother of two who lives in the West Augustine community.

She says she currently has three jobs to make ends meet, and these affordable homes are crucial for people like her.

“I feel like everyone here is living check to check. It’s more homeless people here than anywhere. They are building up so many houses, and people can’t afford to live in them,” says Hunter.

Josh Brown agrees with Hunter and says he purchased his home through affordable housing in the county.

Brown added that it’s tough to find a reasonably priced house because of the county’s rapid growth.

“If you want to be in a more expensive place, there are plenty of those subdivisions around here and probably not more of the affordable thing,” says Brown.

There is now an application process to be approved for these homes.

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