A ground breaking for SabalPlace, an affordable housing community in Seffner-Mango last month.

Metropolitan Ministries is working to help combat one of the leading causes of homeless in the Brandon area—the lack of affordable housing. In collaboration with Blue Sky Communities, with funding from Hillsborough County, Florida Housing Finance Corporation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., construction recently began on SabalPlace, which will offer 112 new affordable housing units in Mango-Seffner.

According to President and CEO of Metropolitan Ministries Tim Marks, since 2012, the number of families receiving housing through the group has grown from 43 to more than 450 in the Tampa Bay area.

“We have witnessed an explosion in need as the economy soars and unemployment rates drop,” said Marks. “Our monthly number of assessments for on-site residential programs has doubled and peaks at 200 families a month.”

SabalPlace, the first new development to receive funding allocated by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners especially for affordable Housing, will be a family community of apartment homes built of durable CBS construction, featuring one, two and three-bedroom units.

In partnering with Blue Sky Communities, Metropolitan Ministries is able to further its mission to implement innovative ways to address the needs of the community and help at-risk families maintain self-sufficiency.

“We have hundreds of working families on the wait list at our nearby properties, said Shawn Wilson, president of Blue Sky Communities. “SabalPlace is part of the solution for Hillsborough County.”

JPMorgan Chase’s Tampa team helped Metropolitan Ministries develop its affordable housing division with a $400,000 grant last year. The firm also provides construction financing to Blue Sky Communities to help fund the development.

“As Tampa continues to grow at a rapid pace, we need to make sure that all residents have access to affordable housing,” said April Monteith, executive director and vice chair of JPMorgan Chase’s Tampa market leadership team.

Blue Sky is taking applications for its Preserve at Sabal Park community which shares a location with the SabalPlace development. The Preserve also offers one, two and three bedroom apartments with rent starting at $695 a month. Call 207-6121 or visit www.preserveatsabalpark.com. SabalPlace is located at 10920 E. Broadway Ave. in Mango-Seffner.

To learn more about Metropolitan Ministries, which was founded in 1972, visit www.metromin.org.

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.