Gospel Inc. awarded $500,000 to build housing for homeless
LAKELAND — Gospel Inc., a Lakeland-based organization focused on helping the homeless, has been awarded a $500,000 grant to construct 24 housing units.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta awarded more than $18 million in November for affordable housing projects across the Southeast. The awards will go toward funding and creating 2,194 affordable housing rental and homeownership units.
Gospel Inc. was among 40 affordable housing initiatives in 12 states to be awarded the funds. The overall value of the initiatives represents $582 million in total housing development.
Brian Seeley, the executive director of Gospel Inc., said he was excited to receive the grant for the organization and that ground could be broken by mid-2022 for the housing project for people experiencing chronic homelessness – a population whom the nonprofit serves at its complex along East Lemon Street. He gave a lot of credit for landing the grant to SouthState Bank for its support of the project.
“We are so thankful for SouthState Bank for partnering with us on the FHLB grant,” Seeley said.
The group is still fundraising as the first phase of the projectcost will be $2.6 million for the first 24 new units at Gospel Village, he said.
Each unit will house one person and preliminary plans call for each of them to live in a 433-square-foot residence with a bathroom, combined kitchen and living room space, and a separate bedroom.
The county recently contributed another $824,00 toward the first-phase building campaign. There are plans for more units in years to come with ongoing costs are covered by donations from individuals.
The purchase of the property for Gospel Village was funded primarily by a $1 million Community Development Block Grant from the Polk County Commission.
Private donations of $400,000 also went toward the land purchase in February when work began to improve the existing homes and clean up the existing lots.
There are currently about 40 people living in Gospel Village, a 1.7-acre complex of trailers, small homes, outdoor spaces, vegetable gardens, a chicken coop, and a shared food pantry – called the community fridge.
FHLB in Atlanta is one of 11 district banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which have awarded approximately $7 billion in Affordable Housing Program funds, assisting more than 990 households since 1990.