$790,000 FCLF financing (2 loans)
24 affordable handicap accessible apartments
For individuals who need a wheelchair to help them get around, it is often difficult to find affordable, safe housing that is fully accessible and allows them to live independently. In South Florida, a local couple, Pedro and Angelina Rodriguez, faced this challenge first hand when Mr. Rodriguez became quadriplegic as a result of an auto accident. In 1985, the Rodríguezes and a group of friends with spinal cord injuries founded Spinal Cord Living Assistance Development, Inc., or SCLAD. To date, SCLAD has helped more than 1700 individuals with disabilities through a support network that helps with housing, job training, and other support services.
SCLAD’s housing initiatives make available barrier-free housing that is affordable to individuals with disabilities and their families. SCLAD has developed 82 barrier-free units, sold 24 condos and currently manages 52 rental units.
With financing from Florida Community Loan Fund, SCLAD constructed the Villa del Este apartments in Hialeah, Florida. The project is a 2-story structure with 6 apartments, fully wheelchair accessible. This includes wider hallways and doors, larger bathrooms with roll-in showers, specially designed kitchens with roll-under stoves, and cabinetry installed to be accessible to an individual in a wheelchair.
The Villa del Este apartments are across the street from retail, including a grocery store, and adjacent to an attractive community park. Other SCLAD owned properties and the SCLAD resource center are within 2 blocks. The project has received support and grants from the City of Hialeah. Demand is high for these units which represent a very significant improvement in the quality of life for residents. Often the only alternative for these residents is to live with family members and in locations that are not wheelchair friendly.
A second FCLF loan in 2018 will help build Le Jeune Gardens in Hialeah; a 3-story building with 18 apartments that will be fully handicap accessible and affordable for very-low and low-income households. These apartments provide housing for individuals with limited alternatives. As in the past this project will be close to shopping, schools, and public transportation; and services for residents will be provided and coordinated by the nearby SCLAD Resource Center.
Pictured above: SCLAD Villa del Este apartments. Below: architectural rendering of Le Jeune Gardens, and typical kitchen with accessibility features.