A housing report Palm Coast government is required to submit to federal authorities every five years, presented to the City Council today, opens an alarming window into the city’s most dire housing needs and stresses for middle and lower-income residents.
Most startlingly: 18 percent of households in Palm Coast, por almost one in every five households, make less than half the median household income in the city, and over 2,000 of those make less than 30 percent, placing them in the poverty range.
It’s no surprise to anyone that, as the report notes, “there is a significant need for affordable housing in the City of Palm Coast.” But the illustrative numbers are rare, hard evidence of a need generally discussed only anecdotally, and that affects social service agencies, the school district and of course other local governments, including Palm Coast.
The numbers can be arresting.
Some 10,850 households, or over a third of the city’s 30,000 households, earn less than 80 percent of household median income, making them middle to lower-income. Among them, 7,080 are owner-occupied, and 3,770 are renter-occupied.
Of those, 6,675, or 61 percent, are facing housing costs that exceed the 30 percent threshold. Housing costs include mortgage, rent, or utilities. When housing costs devour more than 30 of a family budget, household members are often faced with hard decisions on what bills to pay to make ends meet, making choices between food, gas, rent or credit card payments. Any additional burden of an accident, a major repair, or a serious illness could be catastrophic.
Flagler County’s Housing Authority, which provides housing for lower-income residents, is essentially a drop in the bucket, and it’s outside the city limits. It provides just 126 public housing units in South Bunnell and 257 “housing choice vouchers” that residents may use with landlords who accept them. A caveat: the Housing Authority’s residents are in the extreme-poverty range, earning from zero to 30 percent of the median household income.
Still, the report notes that there are 2,170 such households in Palm Coast, and another 3,135 households that earn only up to 50 percent of the median income. There are 5,555 that earn up to 80 percent, placing them near or in the moderate income category.
The rapidly aging profile of Palm Coast–both of its people and its housing stock–adds another layer of concern as city officials are pointing to a degree of housing repairs and rehabilitation that many existing, aging residents simply may not be able to afford.
The numbers are very likely undercounts, because the city’s report bases them on the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey years of between 2017 and 2017. Palm Coast has experienced rapid growth since. For example, the report–due to be turned in to the federal Housing and Urban Development Department–cites the 2017 household median income as $51,208. According to the 2021 Census estimate, the median household income in Palm Coast was $57,872, a substantial difference. So any household income below $46,000 would be considered moderate to low income.
The 2017 numbers also mask more recent burdens, such as a spike in inflation unseen in 40 years, and a spike, now moderating, in gas prices that disproportionately affect working class residents–those residents who are in the more stressed income categories.
Senior Planner Jose Papa of the city’s community development department presented some of the numbers to the council, passing over the finer and at times grimmer print of the report itself. The presentation proposed the required 2022-26 “consolidated action plan,” itself part of the Community Development Block Grant, or CBGB, program: to be eligible for those federal funds, the city must go through various steps, including having an advisory group, public hearings and presentations such as today’s. But the plan doesn’t propose any substantial changes from the way Palm Coast has spent its CDBG funds in the past.
Other than cursory questions by Mayor David Alfin, who wondered whether some of the CDBG funds could be used for sidewalk improvements along Cimmaron Drive, the way such funds were used for sidewalks in Seminole Woods shortly after the housing bust, none of the council members asked questions. (No, the funds may not be used for Cimmaron Drive improvements: that neighborhood is not economically stressed.)
It’s not as if Palm Coast residents are that interested, either: “This document was made available on our website for 30 days as required by CDBG rules, and we did not receive any comments on the consolidated action,” Papa said.
And in effect, local governments’ roles with CDBG funds is very limited–if not merely cosmetic–especially in comparison with the need the CDBG program exposes. The city administration’s presentation was required, but it was not intended to change much of anything, nor could it, as the budget numbers Papa presented at the end of his presentation indicated. The money Palm Coast has to spend is almost risible, compared to the needs outlined. Nevertheless, the value of this morning’s presentation was in those demographic and economic numbers, a rare, comprehensive look at the depth of the local unaffordable housing crisis.
The CDBG program was established in 1974–when Palm Coast was a few dozen homes–to help communities underwrite housing in different ways for middle and low-income residents, to prevent the incidence of blight or slums, or to help communities in the aftermath of natural disasters.
The assistance can take shape in different ways: financial help for home repairs, financial help to first-time home-buyers, infrastructure improvements in areas inhabited by middle and low-income residents (like the the sidewalk and trail projects in Seminole Woods neighborhood), and money to subsidize such things as summer camp for children in low to middle-income families. Larger counties like Miami Dade and Broward spend some of their grants on building housing stock–either single family homes or apartment buildings–for qualifying residents. Palm Coast doesn’t have such a program.
“The city continues to be an aging community. There continues to be a cost burden for rent or homeownership for our low to moderate income population,” meaning those who earn 80 percent or less of the median income.
The analysis found that:
- 13 percent of all households in the city are occupied by a single person 65 or older. There were a total of 33,264 households by 2020. So no fewer than 4,300 households in the city are occupied by a single, elderly person.
- 49 percent, or 16,300, of Palm Coast’s households have one or more person 65 and older.
- 57 percent of owner-occupied households that are economically stressed–with mortgage or rent and utilities costing more than 30 percent of income–include a person over the age of 62.
- Almost two-thirds of all of Palm Coast’s moderate and lower-income households–61 percent–are paying 30 percent or more for their housing costs–34 percent are owner occupied, 27 percent are renters. “These cost burdened households have a certain vulnerability to financial distress or homelessness,” Papa said, “and that occurs when should the sudden emergency expense occur.”
- Palm Coast has over 700 households where grandparents are responsible for grandchildren.
“To summarize this,” Papa said, “we find that the elderly households that have these situations are more vulnerable due likely to a fixed income or having a single income, or more likely prone to suddenly have a disability that may require the rehabilitation of a home or might make them difficult to proceed with rehabilitating their home so that they might stay within that home, not move to a facility.”
Something else that may surprise existing residents, especially residents of more recent vintage: Almost half of Palm Coast’s housing stock was built before 2000, making it nearly a quarter century old or older. As houses age, major structural items begin to fail–the roof, the air conditioning, the water heater, increasing the maintenance burden on the home’s residents.
“It’s important to recognize that the city’s housing inventory is aging and that additional resources will be needed to maintain the housing stock to a livable condition and to prevent dilapidation of neighborhoods,” Papa said, “because again, you have a home that falls into disrepair, it’s typically not just the person living in that home. They feel the immediate effects of a failing home, or a home that’s not up to standard, but certainly the neighbors in that neighborhood also start to feel that effect too.”
The more elderly the city’s population, the more burdensome the effects, since elderly people can assume the burdens less readily than younger people.
The city’s capacities are limited–and decreasing. In the current year, the city’s entire CDBG adopted budget was $1.2 million, but actual expenditure will amount to $945,000, according to the city’s latest estimates, and even less will be in next year’s budget. Most of this year’s actual CDBG revenue was devoted to housing rehabilitation. Only $11,500 was provided to first-time homebuyers. In other words, nothing substantial to make a difference in today’s home-buying environment.
Papa said the allocation for next year is all of $497,000, with $387660 of that going to the housing rehabilitation program, and $75,000 for public services that tie into social services. The city will take about $35,000 for administration of the program.
In sum, while the report starkly diagnoses housing needs and stresses, it stops short of presenting a roadmap to solutions beyond the all but perfunctory amounts budgeted to address those needs.
The full report and presentation are below.
1.5+ years into Biden-Harris this was one of his 2020 priorities, the Affordable Housing Crisis. So inflation, Fed raising interest rates, the Biden couldn’t be more out of touch with reality. Hold him accountable & responsible. End of the day, if Biden is saying Affordable, you can bet it’ll be Unaffordable, from Healthcare to Housing, the Biden Inflation is all on him & his administration. This is his recession too. When are all the protestors going to start protesting, rioting & looting ?
Don't Tase Me Bro says
Dude you’re absolutely nuts man. I don’t know how your constant vitriol, hate, anger, and now apparently calls for violence continuously make it through the filter on this site. FlaglerLive please get rid of this ass clown. He’s not sharing an opinion – he’s nothing more than a kindergarten shit thrower.
Imagine the many comments of his that don’t make it through.
“Dude you’re absolutely nuts man. I don’t know how your constant vitriol, hate, anger, and now apparently calls for violence continuously make it through the filter on this site.”
What I said:
“When are all the protestors going to start protesting, rioting & looting ?”
Nothing more than a question. Stick with me on this, if mis-managed poverty is racism for Trump, How can the inflation, raising interest rates & state of the economy from 2021-present not trigger those that protested, rioted & looted in 2020. If the economy is unaffordable for the last 1.5 years of Biden-Harris. If you couldn’t afford housing or much of anything else under Trump, it sure as heck isn’t affordable today under the Biden. Own your vote for this sh*t show, 74+ million didn’t vote for it, because they knew Biden-Harris would become what it has. Trump as POTUS, it’s racism for America to be relatively more affordable. But an even higher level of unaffordable isn’t racism or even protest worthy under the Biden ?
My question, that is not call(s) for violence. Just wondering when the BLM folks are going to get fed up with being lied to again ?
End of the day here, try to pay attention this time. The selling prices of homes increased, doubled under Biden. That means homes on that number alone you can double a mortgage payment. What it also means, the required downpayment of 20% to avoid mortgage insurance is now a requirement for those that don’t have that much money for a downpayment. And is the Government more than happy to assist with a downpayment ? That money has to come from somewhere ? More Debt to the the Nationals Debt. Then the interest rate goes up, on a principal that doubled is going to be moeny in a mortgage that doesn’t actually pay down the higher prices of an unaffordable house. You would have to be the stupid ass clown you claim I am if you can’;t figure that all Biden is, others sell their houses and buy back at inflated prices and higher interest rates for more debt. You would have to be the biggest fool in Flagler County, FL & USA to think that buying back the same number of square feet of house that you already had prior to the Biden lie of affordable housing is in your best interest. It’s a Ponzi Scheme of debt where you would never own a home. I have to fight them off every day, the never ending texts & USPS mailers begging me to sell my car & house to only buy it back for deeper debt. Makes no sense to sell the relatively affordable transportation & roof I already had under Trump to buy it back for more debt, if I can even find a house without getting into a bidding war under the Delaware Liar Biden. I hear the term “carpetbagger” quite often in Flagler county, that’s Biden all day long. Biden promised you life would get better in 2020, instead your dollar is worth less & less every day in the USA. How is that hope or better ? I’ll wait, under Biden it’s not even better than Trump’s worst year for economy. The inflation, all those trillions & nothing improved or got done, did it ? Biden’s kicking that can down the street isn’t he. And 74+ million told you 82+ million that this would be the Biden-Harris America. So please, own your Biden-Harris like a boss, the 74+ million of us don’t deserve Biden-Harris duping you into a better America.
William Brown says
Biden own no gas stations, Banks, shipping vessels,if u can’t afford to live in America Leave!!!
Yeah blame him for all bad things. Knowing our good President he will do something positive about the housing problem. Will probably get none to little help from the Repubs. Housing problems were here before he became President. He has some time to work on it. Go Joe Go. If he run again he has my vote. Good job Joe.
The do nothing republicans will be who they are. Just a mess to be cleaned up by the next democratic admin. After George Bush, Clintons people had to fix things. Same after George Jr. Obama dems got the housing crisis to fix. Anow Biden is dealing with Trump’s do nothing admin. All they want is for autocrat Trump to end democracy so they can line their pockets like Trump and all his family did before.
“This document was made available on our website for 30 days as required by CDBG rules, and we did not receive any comments on the consolidated action,” Papa said. ”
No kidding. Have a damn monthly newsletter that goes out to ALL houses with information like this and other pertinent items. Not the “feel good” flyer that comes once in a while with our water bills that share food truck days and walk with the Mayor. Same goes for “parks and recreation”, how hell does anyone know what’s going on with that department? Another candidate for some form of information for ALL residents detailing programs, a quarterly pamphlet would be nice. Not everyone goes to the Palm Coast websites to find out what’s going on daily/weekly/monthly, many still prefer a brochure with details.
Wil Vaught says
when and where does the City post these notices. The newer and/or older citizens may not know nor be able to find “said” information.
Regarding the lack of response to the posting of this information on the city’s website, did the city notify via email or other method any city residents of its existence? Or solicit our input? This article is my first notice of it. I suspect the city did little to nothing to elicit resident response. Our City Council is not interested in resident opinion, just the padding of their own pockets. Ergo, the issues uncovered here. Ergo, the closing of the Green Lion which will also have a negative effect on a city asset, the golf course. Oh, but if that happens, watch for the golf course to be turned into another housing boon opportunity for some lucky developer who paid his dues.
Maybe now we could hear more from Ed Danko how there is no need for affordable housing, even for the working class, while we all sit back and listen to the politicians tell us how great Palm Coast is.
Not surprised with the report. Might not be right to the last penny but it does give a good picture of the housing problem. All cities have housing problems. How can the problem be solved? Can the problem be solved, I don’t know. From the government side there will always be sticky fingers in the pot. Unwise use of our tax $s is very common nationwide. Residents using their money unwise is also a big problem. The price of housing is probably the biggest problem. The truth is the problem will not solve itself. Residents need to watch their spending and need to know what they can afford. The government need to use money wisely instead of wasting it. Just my 2 cent opinion.
Hey, I heard it all before… I I’ve seen this movie. I guess the rents in Orlando and Jacksonville just got too high. I mean, who can pay $5000 a month?… Right.
Good luck folks.
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Palm Coast cost of living is still 2% less than Jax and 4% lower than Daytona.
I would also guess that many of lower income families are retirees and may already own their homes. But the cost to rent tends to fluctuate with housing costs. The real concern to the under employed and working class will be the coming layoffs in response to raising interest rates.
Darryl Downer says
This is going to eventually correct itself. What goes up must come down. You get delusional in thinking that the current trend will go on forever – kind of like how everyone was all glossy-eyed back in 2008 when the market corrected itself back to 1998. That’s going to happen again as the market will correct itself likely back to 2018 levels. Your house that you bought in 2018 for $220,000 ain’t really worth $500,000 now! The banks, corporations and media want you to believe it is. Chip and Joanna certainly want you to believe it while you tune in and remodel that perfectly fine bathroom for the cost of a Camry. But it ain’t real. And those who think it is are destined for hard hard times in the very near future. If you’ve got a house over your head that you own, my recommendation is don’t budge. Stay put and ride out the oncoming housing disaster. We’re in the midst of a gigantic housing Ponzi scheme and the cat will be out of the bag soon enough.
ULTRA MAGA says
BEWARE of Senator Travis Hutson’s CONFLICT of Interest; his family are Developers that are building 16,000 homes in St John’s County! Hutson’s Senate Bill 736 would protect his family business and SCREW new home owners! Do NOT vote for the RINO who is the Developers BIG GUY!
I am curious about the number of mortgage free (already paid off) homes included in these counts.
Our mayor is so inept that he doesn’t know what a impoverished area look like.
Lets get our act together.
I’m almost ashamed to admit that I live in Palm Coast.
Absolutely Ridiculous says
Remember when the rule of thumb was your rent/mortgage payment should equal one week’s pay?
My two week paycheck goes entirely towards the rent with nothing whatsoever left over. In the
standards yet for Flagler County, I, as a single person 50+, am considered above average pay scale.
Go figure…….. waiting for the bubble to burst so those overpriced homes are back to being available
to the average person/family.
Isn’t low income housing subsidized ultimately property tax payer funded housing? Reduce the tax load by reducing city, county, & whatever unnecessary employment which has become excessive. Then watch housing costs overall fall. Income simply is not keeping up with housing costs & related matters
My daughter rents a 900 sq. ft. apartment in Palm Coast. Her rent increased again this year and will now be about $1300 per month plus utilities. She was informed that if someone new moved into her apartment, the rent would be about $1600 per month. This is not about the administration of the federal government. It’s about supply and demand and the desire for owners to get as much income as possible from rental properties. This is NOT affordable. It’s far more than 30% of her income but the alternative is homelessness. It’s only a matter of time before the homeless populations swell to incredible numbers as nothing is being done about this problem.
Please keep in mind that landlords maintenance, bills and taxes have increased as well.
This is a problem all over because people are flocking to the coasts. Ft. Lauderdale has grown to the point that what was once an old neighborhood down town has been developed into $500K single bedroom condos by the railroad tracks. Flagler County, and Palm Coast, have decided to get rid of trailers, which used to house many locals. People come down from up north, and “clean us all up” and push out the lower income people who have lived here for generations.
I mentioned here once before about what Delray Beach did. They built a very nice subdivision with upper income housing blended in with lower income town homes. The lower income people had to qualify by consistent employment, got a very good deal on the town home, and had to live in it for, I believe, three years to avoid flipping. To build clumps of low income housing is inviting trouble.
Sure blame the misguided, duped ex-NYer’s again.
“Through The Roof – Lack of new construction and corporate landlords contributing to skyrocketing rent.” https://www.cbs.com/shows/video/kNpcamgOQ_pPGjdNKLgwBuC7g_1Iripl/
If you have Paramount+ you might be able to catch this episode of 60mins… I think this is the Lesley Stalh piece I saw a ways back… I don’t, so I can’t conclusively confirm it is.
Christopher Lemke says
“Affordable housing” is a relative term. If I wanted to live in Palm Beach, I would find the housing costs very unaffordable. So I live here in Palm Coast, where I can afford to live. Public housing is never a real answer, nor is publicly subsidized housing. People complain that the housing costs have increased and have made owning a home unaffordable for them. Let’s say that the average home goes for $330k. A 20% down payment would be $66k. How many can afford that? Even is the average home went for $250k, the down payment would be $50k. My point is that, regardless of the price of the home, there are many people who will never be able to afford the 20% down payment. This inflationary economy is making it even harder to save the money for a down payment. Good luck. Be careful who you vote for.