Mixed-Income Housing

Build a high-quality, mixed income housing development that elevates the standard of living for the lowest- income residents, while providing the quality amenities that attract new residents.

Neighborhood Survey Results:

  • Redevelop Washington Shores Villages (a.k.a. “Orange Center Apartments”) In 2013, roughly 1,200 people were displaced from this large apartment complex which now stands vacant. This is both a tragic occurrence and an opportunity to usher in a new story. Most of the residents who live near the complex are home owners and would love to see the complex redeveloped.
  • Abate other vacant housing – there are a significant number of vacant housing units. Many residents said that these vacant homes presented a problem – upkeep, vandalism, attracting vagrants. Research is clear that abating these properties, preferably with a resident owner is vital to community redevelopment.

Cradle to Career Educational Pipeline

Deliver an effective cradle to career education plan that begins with early childhood education and continues through college and job placement into promising careers.

Neighborhood Survey Results: 

  • Both Orange Center Elementary and Jones High School are historically significant schools to the African American community. In the last five years both schools have experienced a dramatic turnaround in academic results.
  • The 100 Black Men organization is a strategic partner at Jones High School providing mentorship, training and scholarships for students.
  • Orange Center Elementary has been recently redeveloped and is slated to become digital school. Conversations have begun about it becoming a K-8 Community School with a YMCA if student population resurges.
  • Frontline Outreach – Orlando’s oldest faith-based outreach to urban children is entering a new chapter in its history with a new strategic alliance between The Hope Church and the leadership of Nap Ford Charter School early childhood education as well as teacher training development programs. 

Community Wellness

Collaborate with local nonprofits and residents to create a mix of high quality facilities, programs, and services that enhance health and quality of life in the neighborhood.

Neighborhood Survey Results:

  • Lake Lorna Doone Park - this park means a great deal to the neighborhood and is a regular gathering place for the African American community, regionally. Residents have expressed interest in representing the community in conversations to improve the park.
  • Florida Citrus Sports is currently working with a national athletic sponsor and the city to explore opportunities for sports leagues and improvements to the park as they refocus their youth recreational and educational programs around the children in the neighborhood.
  • A collaboration has begun between existing sports, recreation and fitness programs towards a larger vision for the park that might leverage the investments from FCS and the city to better serve youth, families and the elderly at park, the fields surrounding the Bowl and the facilities at Frontline Outreach as well as potential new entrants such as the YMCA.
  • Several residents expressed interest in nutritional education and Hebni Nutrition, a significant asset in the community, has just received a grant to deploy a mobile Farmer’s Market for doing just that
  • Florida Hospital and Orlando Health have initiated conversations about investing resources in the existing healthcare services in the Focus Area such as Orange Blossom Family Health Center, Healthy Families Orange and Guardian Care.

Long-Term Economic Viability

Coordinate entrepreneurship and employment programs that stimulate the neighborhood economy, increase income levels per family and ensure long term economic viability.

Neighborhood Survey Results:

  • Jobs – 26% of residents in the focus area are unemployed and nearly 40% make less than $15,000 per year. Any talk of long-term economic viability must address preparation for and the availability of jobs.
  • The Jobs Partnership, a leading job training program has begun West Downtown class in the focus that will also attract their network of employers.
  • LIFT board members include the presidents of Bags, a local service company, and SeaWorld. Both of these groups offer entry level jobs and opportunities for advancement. Discussions are underway how to best provide opportunity to residents in the area at these and other companies.
  • West Downtown Business Association – business owners have expressed interest in being involved in such an association to better link to the Citrus Bowl and grow customer base.
  • There is a growing interest by a significant network local, successful African American entrepreneurs and senior corporate executives towards playing an active role in the collocation and creation of new employment opportunities in and around our Focus Area.