The AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida and Ability Housing Receive HUD Secretary’s Award for Public Philanthropic Partnerships

JACKSONVILLE, FL - The AdventHealth Foundation Central Florida and Ability Housing were selected to receive the 2021 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public and Philanthropic Partnerships, in recognition of their successful transformation of the Wayne Densch community through an extensive rehabilitation.

This partnership began in 2016, when Wayne Densch Charities donated the 64-unit property to AdventHealth. The property provided transitional housing for persons with behavioral health diagnoses, though it suffered from significant deferred maintenance; at the time, 13 of its 64 units were uninhabitable. AdventHealth engaged Ability Housing, a nonprofit developer of affordable housing, to lead the property’s rehabilitation and evolution from transitional housing to quality affordable and supportive housing.

The $9 million renovation was completed in August 2020. Today, it is home to 75 very low- and extremely low-income households, including 58 formerly homeless households and 31 persons living with a disability.

“The Wayne Densch transformation is a wonderful example of what is possible when partners work together to build strong communities where everyone has a home,” said Shannon Nazworth, President and CEO of Ability Housing. “Ability Housing’s partnership with Wayne Densch Charities and AdventHealth shows the good that happens when organizations work with ‘unconventional partners’ to address complex community issues, like homelessness. This property’s renovation has truly changed the lives of its residents and neighborhood, as well as our organization. As our first development within the Central Florida community, this project’s recognition from HUD is especially meaningful.” 

The renovation increased the number of units from 64 to 75 and changed a deteriorated property into high-quality apartments; 50 percent of the units now provide permanent supportive housing, an evidence-based best practice that pairs housing with voluntary support services. Improvements to the property included new roofs, kitchens, bathrooms, plumbing, exterior walls, electrical, HVAC, and site enhancements.

Ability Housing also developed a property management plan to ensure the project’s long-term success through regular maintenance, updated lease agreements for all tenants, improved accounting procedures and payment plans for residents with late rents. As a result of these efforts, no residents were evicted for inability to pay rent during the transition and construction period.

“Our healing mission extends beyond the hospital walls and the Wayne Densch community is a beautiful example of that,” said Randy Haffner, president and CEO of AdventHealth’s Central Florida division. “We’re extremely thankful for the partnership with Ability Housing and Wayne Densch Charities that enables us to provide a place where people can not only come to live, but come to be cared for in body, mind and spirit.”

Now in its ninth year, the award program recognizes cross-sector partnerships between the philanthropic and public sectors that demonstrate measurable benefits, such as housing for low- and moderate-income families. The Wayne Densch community was one of six partnerships nationally, and the only one in Florida, selected to receive the award in 2021.

About Ability Housing: Ability Housing is an industry-leading not-for-profit multifamily rental housing developer dedicated to creating high-quality affordable housing. We invest in communities through properties that enhance their surrounding neighborhoods, improve each community’s quality of life, and connect residents with a network of voluntary support services.

For more information, visit AbilityHousing.org, like the organization on Facebook (facebook.com/AbilityHousing) and follow on Twitter (@AbilityHousing).

About the AdventHealth Central Florida Division: AdventHealth’s Central Florida Division encompasses more than 20 hospitals and ERs in the seven counties in and surrounding metro Orlando. The world-class hospitals, combined with a comprehensive outpatient care network, see more than 3.4 million patient visits annually.

The division’s flagship campus — AdventHealth Orlando — boasts nationally and internationally recognized programs, and serves as a major tertiary referral hospital for much of the Southeast, the Caribbean and Latin America. Quality specialty care is provided through AdventHealth Institutes, which is nationally recognized in numerous specialties.

AdventHealth also has an expansive research portfolio with more than 500 clinical trials in progress. The organization has a deep commitment to serving the community and has a local financial impact of more than $1 billion annually. AdventHealth and its employees are responsible for nearly 20 percent of Central Florida’s economy.

Learn more about the Central Florida Division on our Newsroom

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