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Posted on September 28, 2017 by Lisa D

Affordable Housing

One of the long-closed Motels in Kissimmee on U.S. Highway 192 is being brought back to life as a permanently affordable housing development called the Backlot Apartments. 

The Travelodge once welcomed weary travelers making their way to the area around the Walt Disney World.

Just a half-mile west of the proposed Margaritaville Resort on U.S. 192, the Backlot Apartments rentals will be mostly efficiencies with hot-plate cooking and rents of $750, utilities included, which is considered affordable on an income of about $25,000. Food-service workers in the metro area earn a midpoint wage of $26,050, according to the federal government.

Osceola counties ranked third nationally for its lack of housing for extremely low-income residents, according to a study released earlier this year by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With just 18 rentals available for every 100 very low-income families, only Las Vegas and Los Angeles had a bigger shortfall.

The only requirements to live at Backlot Apartments are to have a job or be disabled. But it is an effort to start the ball rolling in Osceola County to offer some of the families perpetually stuck in those motels off U.S. Route 192 a fighting chance to some sense of normalcy and a home


8600 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway  

 Kissimmee, FL 34747

407-274-0390 Main   Kissimmee Property Manager Frank

New affordable housing complex back on the table in Sarasota

SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Affordable housing developer Harvey Vengroff is known in Sarasota for building affordable housing.

Back in January, he called it quits on his most recent project, saying that the city made it so difficult, the housing complex would no longer be affordable.

But Thursday, Vengroff announced that Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody has brought him back to reconsider. 

"You haven't solved the problem," Vengroff said. "What are you gonna do to solve the problem?"

Vengroff has the solution that's worked all over the country.

"We're doing things in the state of Washington, we're doing things in Jacksonville, we're doing things in Georgia. Why not here?"

Vengroff's been successful in bringing 1,800 apartments to the Sarasota and Bradenton area, too. 

But after years of planning to bring another complex to Fruitville Road in January, Vengroff became frustrated with city staff. 

"People in other cities have said, 'geeze you guys do affordable housing, that's great, come on over here and we'll give you free land, we'll help you in anyway we can, we'll ease the restrictions and we'll make it happen.'"

But that wasn't the case in Sarasota, so Vengroff quit after getting up to $300,000 in bills just to get permitting.

Until, Thursday. 

"Today is a good day for affordable housing," City Commissioner Hagen Brody said. "Harvey Vengroff has agreed to come back to the table with his affordable housing project in the City of Sarasota and we couldn't be more thrilled, because this community desperately needs more workforce and affordable housing."

The original plan was for five six-story buildings, but they've scaled that down quite a bit.

Vengroff plans to bring 150 two bedroom apartments with an average rent of $700 to the eight acres of land.

"But then we have to start looking at all the fees and there are several million dollars worth of fees," said Joe Barnette, project manager for the housing complex. "And any fee at the beginning ends up being charged to the renters."

That's where the city comes in.

"I don't think it's any secret that it is tough to get things done in the City of Sarasota and we're trying to change that," said Commissioner Brody.

Vengroff said they can only move forward if the group comes to some sort of agreement with the City over the millions of dollars in building fees.

He added that while a luxury condo developer might be able to afford $38,000 to document the weeds, he cannot.

Copyright 2018 WWSB. All Rights Reserved.

Vengroff revisits affordable housing project in Sarasota

Jul 5, 2018

SNN: Affordable housing helps provide a second chance



Looking for a job? This Bradenton apartment complex will host hiring fair, open house

By Ryan Callihan

May 22, 2018 12:42 PM

Updated May 22, 2018 03:22 PM


A local apartment complex that provides affordable housing for low-income residents has partnered with multiple organizations to host an open house and job fair on Tuesday, May 29.

Robin's Apartment recently completed renovations of its 240 units that offer rent from $700 with utilities included. The event will run from 3-7 p.m at 2303 First St. E.

HomeStead Group will be one of the major employers searching for new hires at the job fair. For those who struggle with transportation, the company will establish a branch location on-site at Robin's Apartments.

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"HomeStead has found several larger corporate firms that are looking to help local communities by providing clerical and back office positions at Robin’s apartments, as opposed to having the work handled by an off-shore outsourcing firm," said Mark Vengroff with One Stop Housing, owners of the apartment complex.

The Women's Resource Center and Turning Points also plans to attend the fair and introduce visitors to the social programs that they offer. The Taco Spot is set to open a new restaurant at the apartment complex in August and serve samples of their menu items at the event.

Those interested in attending the open house and job fair are asked to dress for success and bring copies of their resume for review.

Robin's Apartments was formerly known as Knights Inn. Monthly rent is about $700 for a 300 square-foot studio, and there are one-bedroom units available as well.

For more information, call (941) 400-8569 or visit

The Robin's Apartment complex is located at 2303 First St. E. in Bradenton. Bradenton Herald file photo

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Harvey Vengroff