Communication Builds Our Community

Declining Housing Finds Help Through CRA Program

Numerous Homes Rehabilitated, More Work Planned to Upgrade Living Conditions for Seniors

Obsolete and dilapidated housing within the Lake Wales Community Redevelopment District has been targeted by a housing improvement program, and as a result, many seniors living in the northwest neighborhood of Lake Wales have received free home improvements. The program is separate from a CRA cooperative project which is developing new affordable housing in the same neighborhood, in partnership with SouthState Bank and Keystone, a Lakeland-based non-profit housing developer.

The program is one of many components to the "Lake Wales Connected" plan, geared to revitalize the City's historic core.

The efforts are part of the Legacy Housing Rehabilitation Program, designed to help eligible homeowners 60 and older living in the Northwest Neighborhood with a variety of services, such as roof repairs, exterior painting, light construction and lawn cleanup.

The program is facilitated by the City's Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA). More than 10 private eligible residences have received renovations.

"The program helps seniors who are not physically capable or financially able to tackle big projects at home,"

CRA Project Manager Darrell Starling said.

"This program enhances the neighborhood. It lifts it up," said program recipient and homeowner Maxine Isom. Isom received a new roof, air conditioning unit and exterior painting. Roosevelt Academy's Agriculture and Construction program even donated a raised planter filled with flowers to enhance her home.

Future enhancements to the area include: an upgraded water system to strengthen the water supply and water pressure; construction plans to widen sidewalks and footpaths to increase the safety of pedestrians; and redesign plans for Lincoln Avenue, which include enhanced sidewalks with cathedral live oak trees, outdoor seating areas and enhanced lighting.

"From top to bottom there's a series of programs to strengthen the whole neighborhood," said Lake Wales CRA Chairman Robin Gibson.

Seniors interested in service are encouraged to apply for assistance to determine their eligibility. The program application may be found onlineby clicking here.


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