The City of Cocoa has entered into an agreement with Community Housing Initiative, Inc. (CHI) to build the first five homes in the Michael C. Blake Subdivision in the Diamond Square Community in Cocoa. The subdivision, which was originally purchased by the City of Cocoa in 2016 to be redeveloped for quality affordable housing, was platted and renamed the Michael C. Blake Subdivision in 2018 after the current Mayor of Cocoa.
The twenty-two properties in the subdivision are designated for quality workforce housing. Workforce housing plays a crucial role in supporting economic development by ensuring that essential workers can live close to their places of employment, reducing commute times, and increasing productivity.
“Partnering with CHI to bring affordable housing to the Diamond Square Community is critical in addressing the housing needs of our local workforce such as our teachers, firefighters, police officers, healthcare workers, and more, but it also attracts and retains that talent, spurring economic growth, and creating a sustainable and thriving community,” said Cocoa Mayor Michael C. Blake.
CHI will serve as the developer, contractor, and applicant qualifier for the homes. They will assist buyers with mortgage financing by offering referrals, if needed, and reviewing all lender documentation. Buyers may also be paired with the City of Cocoa’s First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program, offering downpayment assistance for first-time homebuyers. Buyers will also need to attend a mandatory homebuyer counseling class prior to closing.
Additionally, the Diamond Square Community Redevelopment Agency (DSCRA) has allocated $475,000 towards the construction of additional workforce housing in this subdivision beyond the first five homes. One of the goals of the DSCRA is to increase partnerships with housing developers to encourage new residential development. With the increased cost of construction, it has become difficult to construct new homes affordably. With the assistance of grants and partnerships with non-profit housing programs, the DSCRA and the City of Cocoa hope to continue their efforts in redeveloping the Diamond Square community.