Special Needs Housing

Welcome to the Special Needs Housing page of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. This is intended to serve as a clearinghouse and portal of information about Florida Housing’s affordable housing funding programs and resources that serve persons and households with special needs.

Special needs households include persons who are elderly, physically disabled, at risk of being or are homeless, and/or have extremely low incomes. These special needs populations may include more specifically defined subgroups such as youth aging out of foster care, survivors of domestic violence, persons with severe and persistent mental illness, or persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

One approach to supporting these households is Permanent Supportive Housing. Permanent Supportive Housing is a highly effective strategy that combines affordable rental housing with community-based services to help residents maintain a stable home. It is a proven model to help people who are not stably housed or who are experiencing homelessness, as well as persons with disabilities who can live independently in the community with supportive services. This type of housing provides residents with housing for an indefinite length of stay as long as the tenant complies with lease requirements, and it has no limits on the length of tenancy related to the provision or participation in supportive services. Such units may be a small portion of a larger general occupancy affordable rental property or may be part of a property that specializes in supportive housing.

Florida Housing Finance Corporation finances Permanent Supportive Housing around two key tenets. First, permanent housing is provided according to “Housing First,” an approach that requires properties accept residents without prior requirements for sobriety, compliance with medications or participation in programs. Second, such housing should provide supportive services coordination that is “resident centered” – that is, expectations for residents’ optimal stability, self-sufficiency and quality of life are based on each resident’s own expectations and goals. Each funding cycle, Florida Housing Finance Corporation usually provides three funding opportunities for the development of Permanent Supportive Housing.

Summary of High Utilizer Housing and Services Pilot with Housing Providers and Managing Entities

Florida Housing Finance Corporation's Board of Directors made $40 million in preliminary financing available to three Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) properties for a new pilot. A small portion of the units each of the new properties – 20% or a minimum of 15 units – will house “High Utilizers,” that is, persons who are high users of public behavioral health crisis services or are a high priority for diversion from acute health care services and institutional settings. The focus of this new 3-year pilot is on those High Utilizers who part of the state's behavioral healthcare system through the Managing Entities and are facing housing instability due to their behavioral health care situation.

Pilot Objective

  • The long-term objective of the pilot is to create a collaborative approach to state-administered funding for both housing and services to build a replicable model for the future.
  • Helping High Utilizer individuals in the behavioral healthcare system who face housing instability, but are not literally homeless, requires blending a different set of funding strategies to help them gain independence and stability in their communities.
  • The three proposed developments that will be part of the pilot are:
  • Village at Cedar Hills – 90 units in Duval County
  • Ability Housing, Inc – housing provider
  • Lutheran Services of Florida, Inc – managing entity partner
  • Apollo Gardens -- 84 units in Brevard County
  • Carrfour Supportive Housing – housing provider
  • Central Florida Cares Health System – managing entity partner
  • Jersey Commons – 68 units in Polk County
  • Blue Sky Communities/Community Assisted and Supported Living/Tri-County Human Services – housing provider
  • Central Florida Behavioral Health Network – managing entity partner

Key Aspects of the Pilot

  • Properties should be up and running in 2025.
  • Partnering Managing Entities and housing providers will collaborate with Florida Housing to develop performance measures and any other indicators that will be useful to monitor over the 3-year period.
  • Each local pilot will develop a Housing Stability Services Coordination Plan describing how High Utilizers living at the property will be supported. The plan must specify how the Managing Entities will fund the services coordination and other eligible housing stability services to these residents.
  • Managing Entities will refer High Utilizers to the property for tenant selection. Housing stability services and individualized plan for each High Utilizer participating in the pilot will be key.

Working with Florida Housing throughout the Pilot Period

  • The leaders of the 3 local pilots will participate in regular communication with Florida Housing and other pilot participants to discuss progress, implementation issues and solutions.
  • Each pilot will develop first year, second year and final reports after pilot completion, including annual monitoring of progress on performance measures.
Introduction to Special Needs Housing

The Special Needs Housing page is organized into subsections using Quick Links menu on the right side of this page. This website also features a variety of links that will sometimes open new windows or websites.

Increasingly, Florida Housing is working with its sister agencies and other stakeholders to provide supportive housing opportunities for people with special needs, such as elders, youth aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities. Supportive housing refers to housing in which services for those residents are matched with the housing they need, whether rental or homeownership. Because Florida Housing’s statutory role is to provide financing for housing only, coordination with service agencies at the state and local level is required for an effective response.

Since 2001, Florida Housing has offered funding for a series of funding opportunities for financing needs of housing targeted to those residents. Over recent years, we have initiated several new projects to further our efforts, specifically our Link Strategy (linking households receiving supportive services with housing) and our Universal Design requirements in newly constructed units. You can read more about following topics related to Special Needs Housing by using the Quick Links menu on the right of this page.

  • Housing Stability for Homeless Schoolchildren – This page provides information about funding opportunities and community partnerships using federal HOME funding to provide Tenant-Based Rental Assistance to families experiencing homelessness with school-aged children.
  • Serving Special Needs – This page provides information about serving households with special needs, in addition to providing information about Florida Housing’s Link Strategy.
  • Consumers – This page provides Consumers or Service Providers information regarding affordable rental or homeownership opportunities for persons with special needs.
  • Developers – This page provides general information regarding Florida Housing programs that are helpful for developers or local government organizations, including funding cycles and program descriptions.
  • Important Announcements – This page provides information on Rules that govern Florida Housing’s funding process as well as updates on general funding opportunities available through Florida Housing.
  • Income & Rent Limits – This page provides information about Income Limits and maximum Rent Limits related to a number of Florida Housing programs, in addition to information about Extremely Low-Income levels that govern Florida Housing’s Tax Credit programs.
  • Research & Publications – This page provides information of specific publications that are related to Special Needs Housing programs, pilots and/or demonstration projects of Florida Housing.
  • Education, Training, & Technical Assistance – This page provides information about the Affordable Housing Catalyst Training and Technical Assistance Program; the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition, which from time to time provides training and technical assistance related to housing for persons with special needs; as well as links to Special Needs Housing and Supportive Housing trainings developed within Florida Housing and made available for interested parties.
  • Universal Design & Accessibility in Housing – This page provides information regarding federal requirements and state building codes that apply to properties within Florida Housing’s portfolio as well as information related to Accessibility and Visitability. 

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