Rent in Orange County: How commissioners hope to combat skyrocketing prices

Orange County leaders plan to address the housing problem as rent rates continue to skyrocket. 

Commissioners are set to select developers for affordable housing projects. The county has a $16 million budget to use for the long-term project of building more affordable housing in Orange County. Commissioners are expected to greenlight two firms and three alternatives on Tuesday to get the ball rolling. 

Based on proposals sent in, firms are looking at breathing new life into run down shopping centers, vacant lots, or adding developments in neighborhoods. 

The smallest development proposed is 96 units, the largest proposed is over 300.

The procurement committee for the county has already ranked the proposals based on things like the firm's experience and its plans to accommodate people with low income.  The firms that got the highest marks were the proposed development in Apopka which offered the most units and the location off Tradeshow Road in Orlando. That design also includes retail space for people who live there, including a community health center. 

At January's meeting about affordable housing, leaders did acknowledge though that this is a long-term solution as they work on a fix now. 

"With rent going up and everything else going up it just makes it harder to go on day by day not having to worry about those things," said one Orange County resident.

In looking through the proposal, these are anywhere from one to four- bedroom apartments and each firm included a set number of units for people who live 50 - 60% below the median income.