Editor’s Note: The following is a response to a story by investigative reporter Elgin Jones. The story revealed that New Visions Community Development Corp. Executive Director Jacqueline Tufts used her position at the non-profit to get discounts on a home her agency built for her in the Sweeting Estates neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. The story ran in the Dec. 12 edition of the South Florida Times.

The one thing the article by Mr. Jones illustrated is that the supposed beneficiaries of  subsidized programs are being short-changed by this appearance of impropriety by New Visions leadership. The lots in the Sweeting Estates could serve more people. More housing and quality rentals could be built in these areas.

Some of the homes recently built have lot-size square footage that is two to three times larger than the former demolished housing. In comparison to housing the Sweeting Estates community has enjoyed historically, these newcomers live in “McMansions.’’

The recent Dixie Court Housing Project being completed off of Ninth Avenue near New Mount Olive Baptist Church is simply beautiful. This is a perfect example of how density can be increased in an attractive manner using multi-family housing or cluster homes.

With the remaining lot space that remains in Sweeting Estates, more density should be the goal. With the number of foreclosures in this county, quality rentals are also a must. It is a reality that not everyone can afford a single-family home.  A popular songwriter once wrote a song that said, “I beg your pardon. I never promised you a (subsidized) rose garden.’’

There are very few opportunities to impact affordable housing goals in many areas of the city that are experiencing an economic depression. In these times, it is the right thing to do for so many people who not only need help, but also need a chance to help themselves.
–Fred Allen, Licensed Realtor