Low-income housing company Concord Management on Tuesday promised to make a $100,000 donation to an Orlando-area food bank.
The company also promised to commit an additional $10,000 per month to Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and to maintain that donation “until further needed, to ensure that a steady food supply is readily available to families in need,” according to a post on Concord’s Facebook page.
The donation announcement came a day after a Tampa Bay Times story detailed how Concord had planned to raise rent on low-income tenants — in one case, by about $50 a month — during the coronavirus pandemic, before later walking those plans back.
“As a housing provider to nearly 46,000 people who call a Concord community home, we recognize the hardship that the recent global pandemic is causing for families throughout Central Florida,” the company said about its philanthropy in an emailed statement Tuesday morning. “We believe Second Harvest Food Bank has a mission and purpose that aligns with ours and we are honored to be able to assist Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida by contributing to their Project Community – Day of Giving fundraising goal of $1,000,000. In the Central Florida communities we collectively serve, we see our mission as complimentary to theirs and are pleased to support their efforts to serve those experiencing hardship in this time of such great uncertainty.”
Concord manages homes across Florida — including in Pinellas and Hillsborough — that are built on federal tax credits, an incentive the government offers developers to build affordable housing. Rent on those units is capped based on an area’s particular median income. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development this month released new median income figures, and they went up. That allows landlords and property managers like Concord to raise rents on those units.
The median income figures are based off years past and don’t take into account the current economic turmoil in response to the coronavirus.
Concord alerted residents to the impending rent increase on April 1, later walking it back in an April 7 letter, saying the rent increases were suspended “until further notice” for tenants who pay rent on time. The letter said it was “as a sign of our appreciation.”
Because the median income figures changed, families in more than 210,000 units of low-income housing around Florida could see their rent go up. Across the country, that number is in the millions.
While it is legal to raise rents on those units, officials with the Florida Housing Finance Corp., which administers affordable housing in the state, are discouraging it. After the Times’ story, Florida Housing Executive Director Trey Price released a statement saying there could be consequences for landlords who raise rent right now.
“As Floridians grapple with the COVID-19 public health emergency, the last thing they need is for landlords to increase rental payments,” Price said. “Florida Housing stands with Florida families by urging no rent increases and ensuring Floridians have access to affordable and safe housing during these uncertain times together. Those who choose to implement rent increases that impact residents during this global pandemic could result in consequences for future funding opportunities with Florida Housing.”
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