A large contingent of Springfield residents showed up at a public meeting in April 2014 to protest Ability Housing of Northeast Florida’s plan to build a 12-unit apartment complex, mostly for veterans.
November 20 2015 - An almost two-year battle with the city and Springfield residents over a homeless-housing project in the historic neighborhood has Ability Housing of Northeast Florida turning to the courts.
The nonprofit, which creates permanent housing for homeless families and individuals, wanted to purchase and renovate a 12-unit apartment complex in Springfield. It would have been mainly for disabled veterans, the nonprofit said, because of its proximity to the Veterans Administration health clinic.
Ability Housing hasn’t been able to do that, though. It’s been rejected twice by the city, the last time in October.
The nonprofit filed suit in federal court Wednesday claiming violations of the Fair Housing Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
“Unfortunately, it’s come to this point,” said Shannon Nazworth, the nonprofit’s executive director. “We really did hope we weren’t going to have to do this.”
Ability Housing secured almost $1.4 million in a forgivable loan through the Florida Housing Finance Corp. for the project. It just needed to show it had obtained approvals for the renovations and the building permit.
However, there was pushback from the Springfield community when residents caught wind of what was being planned.
At an April 2014 community meeting, close to 200 showed up to talk about the project. Many were angry. Some said they weren’t properly notified. Others didn’t want the project in the neighborhood at all. read more>>>