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Nearly 20,000 Register for Affordable Housing

The developer said it’s “alarming” what the number of applicants says about the need for affordable housing. Residents will be chosen at random using a computer program.

MIAMI – In one week’s time, nearly 20,000 people have applied for a lottery to fill a 113-unit affordable housing development in Hollywood, underscoring the need for affordable housing in South Florida.

That number astounded Timothy Wheat, the developer behind Pinnacle 441, a property at the intersection of Johnson Street and State Road 7, south of the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, that will provide affordable housing to households earning 60% or less of the area median income.

“We’re at a crisis level, perhaps the likes of which we’ve never seen — a crisis of affordability,” Wheat told the Miami Herald.

The $93 million development has been in the works since 2019 and will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units between $1,100 and $1,400, Wheat said.

According to a 2022 Broward County Affordable Housing Needs Assessment, 62% of Broward renters were cost burdened, meaning more than 30% of their income was going toward their rent. Of those residents, 52% were “severely” cost burdened, meaning more than half of their income was going toward rent.

“We’re now in a situation where people aren’t saving, people are incurring debt and we’re struggling to find housing at median prices,” Wheat said, adding that median rental prices in the South Florida market range between $2,500 and $2,800.

Prior to the lottery opening, Wheat told the Herald that his office had received 18,000 inquiries about the development, which is being completed in two phases. Phase I of the project will include 113 units, three of which will be rented at market-level pricing, Wheat said.

Lottery registration for Phase I opened Friday, March 15, and closed Monday, March 25, at midnight. Registrants will be selected for the housing using a randomized computer generator, Wheat said.

The property managers will reach out to the selected applicants in groups of 20, Wheat said. Those selected will have 72 hours to respond to two phone calls regarding the application. From there, Wheat said residents will be asked to provide additional information, including their income and prior resident history. A background check will be performed, and an application fee must be paid.

Wheat said he anticipates residents will move into the Phase I apartments as early as May and Phase II, which will have 100 units, will be ready as soon as early 2025. But even as Pinnacle 441 is hoping to put a dent in Hollywood’s affordable housing needs, he’s still stunned by the large response.

“I’m alarmed at what this says about how dire the need for affordable housing is,” he said. “I’m still stunned by the fact that we’ll probably have to sit through a 20,000-person list when we randomize this. … I’m just stunned by the notion there’ll be, you know, 19,887 unhappy people. I’m still wrapping my own brain around that.”

©2024 Miami Herald. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.