Orange County, home of Orlando and an array of smaller cooperating cities, anchors the rapidly growing Central Florida region. The County’s Housing and Community Development Division was overwhelmed with an influx of federal and state pandemic relief funding, the creation of a new locally-funded affordable housing trust fund, and then a tranche of CDBG-DR funding to support recovery after Hurricane Ian in 2022. Although staffed by a team of seasoned housing and community development professionals, Mosaic was able to provide valuable assistance to the County by taking responsibility for both routine planning documents and new requirements tied to the new HOME-ARP and CDBG-DR funding.

As with most Mosaic projects, a substantial and meaningful community engagement approach was a key accomplishment. In this diverse Central Florida community, engagement opportunities were promoted in both English and Spanish, with over 100 Spanish-language responses received to our community survey (and 779 survey responses in all). Between stakeholder interviews, presentations at existing neighborhood association meetings, a set of fair housing focus groups, and a dynamic project website with over 1,900 pageviews, Mosaic’s engagement process was highly successful in reaching residents most likely to experience housing instability. Based on demographic data collected from participants, the average resident engaged in our planning process was Black, aged 25-50, and a renter with a household income under $50,000 per year.

Based on community input and data analysis, the County’s Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice identified multiple barriers to fair housing and access to opportunity in the region, including disproportionate housing affordability challenges, limitations of the existing housing stock, need for investment in high-poverty communities, and insufficient accommodations for LEP residents. The study provided a variety of concrete, actionable strategies to address the specific barriers to housing choice facing Orange County residents.


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