NCRC’s membership includes more than 600 community-focused organizations in 44 states. Here’s an introduction to one of them, City of Tampa Housing and Community Development (HCD), from HCD’s Manager Kayon Henderson.
Tell us about your organization’s mission/focus area.
The City of Tampa’s Housing and Community Development (HCD) division plays a lead role in the development of housing and citizen support programs to serve the city’s low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, homeless and disabled populations. HCD maintains and expands housing opportunities for LMI persons and families in the city.
Describe a current challenge in your community and how your organization is addressing this?
Florida is one of the five states that are most challenging for extremely low-income renters to find affordable housing. Tampa’s housing and rental prices have increased nearly 30% making affordable housing increasingly challenging.
Housing affordability is one of the top priorities for the city’s mayor who has included programs in her administration’s plans, Transforming Tampa’s Tomorrow.
There are many ways to expand these programs for some of the city’s most deserving recipients, including seeking alternative funding sources that would enable families earning between 80% and 140% of area median income (AMI) to qualify; encouraging employers to more actively promote the programs to their eligible employees; and implementing programs that educate employers about programs that can help their workforce fulfill their housing needs. While maintaining the implementation of our down payment assistance programs and our owner-occupied rehabilitation program, the city is seeking to expand our programs by assessing our inventory and partnering with our developers and nonprofits to build new homes that will add to our inventory of affordable housing units.
What prompted you to join NCRC?
Our organization joined NCRC for the partnership it offers as well as the confidence it builds within our employees from the continued training. It helps our community build and implement better programs to benefit those we serve.
How have you collaborated with other organizations to successfully achieve a goal?
The impact that the Housing Opportunities for Persons with Aids (HOPWA) funding has had on the women and children that participate in the Catholic Charities Mercy House Program is that it affords housing for a population of people that – because of their HIV/AIDS status – may be homeless. Thanks to the program, families can live independently in the community. Families are provided with referrals from a Catholic Charities Coordinator to social service agencies that provide a continuum of services to support and improve their living situation. Many of our residents have limited income so Catholic Charities provides transportation as well as support from staff available on-site 24 hours. The residents are required to pay rent based on their income which affords them the ability to be self-sufficient thus increasing their self-esteem.
Please share a success story or memorable moment from your work.
In collaboration with Mercy House, our clients come to us from all walks of life with various issues in addition to HIV/AIDS. One of our residents has been able to gain custody of both of her children, continue her rehabilitation, and receive a promotion through her job. She has been able to make progress for her child and herself each day. She is now working on moving into permanent housing.
Kayon Henderson is the Manager of the City of Tampa’s Housing and Community Development Division.
Photo is courtesy of City of Tampa Housing and Community Development. Pictured is City of Tampa Housing and Community Development staff with Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County Florida, Inc. volunteering to help build a home for a local veteran as part of Habitat’s Veterans Build initiative. The City of Tampa donated this plot of land to Habitat for Humanity as part of its Infill Housing Phase II project to build more affordable housing in Tampa.