DAYTONA BEACH — Among the items Daytona Beach city commissioners will consider at their meeting Wednesday night are proposals to donate five city-owned lots to a new local housing program and allow a new tattoo parlor to open on Main Street.
The housing program is called Homes Bring Hope, and it was just launched last month.
Homes Bring Hope is on a quest to transform as many low-income renters into homeowners as possible. The program’s goal is to make 12 renters homeowners by the end of this year. The hope is that tally can be doubled to 24 new homeowners in 2022.
Read more about Daytona housing efforts:New Daytona Beach program offering extensive help to turn low-income renters into homeowners
The program’s leaders are already starting to purchase homes in Daytona Beach, and if city commissioners approve the donation of the city-owned land that will allow for construction of five more homes for the new initiative.
“We have many families who are working hard to qualify for home ownership and with these lots, that dream becomes much closer to reality,” said Homes Bring Hope founder Forough Hosseini. “We thank the city commissioners and (city manager) for engaging in the conversation about helping hard-working families triumph over generational poverty by becoming homeowners. As homeowners, they can build equity and break the iron grip of poverty that perpetuates itself from generation to generation.”
Homes Bring Hope is beginning by focusing on renters in Daytona Beach’s 32114 ZIP code where 23.4% of people live in poverty. But the program will eventually expand to other parts of the city and county where there is plenty of need.
“Over 40% of households in Volusia County do not consistently earn enough to cover basic living expenses,” said Buck James, executive director of Halifax Urban Ministries.
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Chipping away at poverty one household at a time
The five city lots are all in the 32114 ZIP code, which extends from the Halifax River west to Interstate 95, and from Mason Avenue south to Beville Road. The properties are located near one another in a neighborhood west of Ridgewood Avenue and south of Mason Avenue.
The addresses are 630 Aberdeen St., 632 Aberdeen St., 725 Ruth St., 540 Spruce St. and 451 Walnut St. The lots are in an area where many residents have to devote more than 30% of their income to housing costs.
The program aims to add more affordable housing, leaving people enough money to pay their other bills. The city would benefit by getting properties back on the tax rolls and bolstering its effort to expand the amount of affordable housing in Daytona Beach.
The proposed agreement between the city and the nonprofit Homes Bring Hope that city commissioners will vote on Wednesday calls for construction of single-family homes for qualified buyers.
Each lot would be restricted by deed covenants requiring the property to be occupied for at least 10 years by affordable homes for income-restricted families. The city would have the right to enforce the deed covenant.
Homes Bring Hope would be responsible for getting the houses built and selling them to low-income buyers at an affordable price.
Homes Bring Hope would be able to inspect the lots, but they would be accepting them in an “as is” condition. The transfer of the property would be official on July 7, and Homes Bring Hope would have two years to complete construction on all of the new houses. Homes Bring Hope would pay closing costs for the property transfer.
“We hope the commissioners agree that making these lots available passes the highest and best use test with flying colors,” Hosseini said.
Homes Bring Hope is a team effort of agencies, businesses and individuals that are covering costs, providing expertise and taking care of repairs and renovations. Team members include the Daytona Beach Housing Authority, Halifax Urban Ministries, Mid-Florida Housing Partnership, city of Daytona Beach, Realty Pros Assured, Southern Title, Sliger & Associates, Daytona State College, four local attorneys, and other companies and organizations.
Equally important are the philanthropists providing program funding, including automobile dealership owner Glenn Ritchey, local businesswoman Jill Simpkins, and the Hosseini family, who have each given at least $100,000. Additional donors and business partners are being sought by the nonprofit organization, which will soon have a board overseeing efforts.
At the heart of the new effort is Hosseini, a senior vice president of ICI Homes, which is her family’s company and one of the nation’s largest homebuilders.
It’s Hosseini’s fourth major initiative to battle Volusia County poverty and the devastation that comes with it.
Her first effort was the Food Brings Hope program that helps economically disadvantaged students excel in school and get enough to eat. She was also a major player in Hope Place, a vacant elementary school that was transformed into a shelter for homeless families, teens and young adults. She also spearheaded the VCan program aimed at eradicating homelessness and hunger among Volusia County’s children.
“To me it’s one family at a time,” Hosseini said. “If I can save one kid, that’s good enough for me. If I save one family, what is that worth?”
A new place to get a tattoo on Daytona’s beachside?
A vacant two-story building at 405 Main St., once the home of Tombstone Silverworks, could soon become a new tattoo parlor and art gallery. If approved by city commissioners, property owners Karen Hollums-Broome and Robert W. Guidotti would also have weekend outdoor art displays with music and make the second floor of the building residential space.
The small property just east of Pinewood Cemetery and across from Humphreys & Son Jewelers would become one of the few places on the beachside to get a tattoo. Victory Tattoo at 514 Main St. has been operating on the corridor the past few years.
Four years ago, city commissioners amended the city’s Land Development Code to remove tattoo establishments from prohibited uses in the North Ridgewood Avenue area, and add tattoo establishments as a permitted use in areas of the city zoned for Business Automotive and Planned District Redevelopment uses. At the time, tattoo establishments were permitted only in Heavy Industrial and Planned Development zoning districts, and they were on the list of prohibited uses in the North Ridgewood Overlay district.
Commissioners made their decision in April 2017 on the heels of a 2015 court decision in a Key West case that held the city ordinance prohibiting tattoo parlors in a historic district violated the First Amendment. The property at 405 Main St. is located in the Surfside Village National Historic District.
In 2018, Daytona Beach city commissioners further amended the Land Development Code by adding tattoo establishments as a permitted use in areas of the city zoned as Business-Retail 2, Redevelopment Beachside — Atlantic Avenue Retail, Redevelopment Downtown — Local Business Services, and Redevelopment Downtown Midtown-Activity Center Mixed Use.
The item on Wednesday’s agenda calls for rezoning the .2 acres of land at 405 Main St. from Beachside Redevelopment-Specialty Retail to Planned Development-Redevelopment to allow a tattoo establishment and art gallery.
Wednesday’s vote will only be seeking preliminary approval. Commissioners are slated to take a final vote at their May 19 meeting.