Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County is hosting a design competition to help raise awareness of the need for and viability of accessory dwelling units in our community. Funding for the competition comes from AARP.

Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County was one of eight Florida organizations to receive a grant from AARP as part of its nationwide program to make communities more livable. Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County will use the funding to help raise awareness of accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, as an affordable, accessible solution for seniors and others who are struggling to find safe, affordable, decent homes. Specifically, the funds will be used to host a design competition, not to construct ADUs.

According to www.tampa.gov, accessory dwelling units are residential housing units that function as a secondary use to a primary use on an existing property. They function as fully independent living quarters with a kitchen, bathroom and sleeping area. Examples of ADUs are mother-in-law cottages, tiny homes and garage apartments.

The plan is to organize a design competition that creates usable ADU plans and raises awareness in the community of the potential of ADUs to provide affordable housing for low to moderate-income residents, including seniors in need of accessible, stable housing.

The grant period runs through Monday, November 30, at which time the winner of the competition will be announced. Local architecture schools, architects and design firms can submit ADU designs, which a panel of experts will review at a community event. Design winners will produce usable construction documents that Habitat or the public can use to build the ADUs.

The goals of the project are to create a range of housing options for older adults and all residents in need while showcasing smart thinking and concepts to build support for larger efforts.

Catherine Coyle, chief operating officer for Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, said, “Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally through constructing and preserving homes; advocating for fair and just housing policies; and providing training and access to resources to help families improve their housing conditions. It is part of what we do.”

Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County hopes to share the designs with local agencies and government officials to foster a collaborative discussion on policies related to and funding for the use of ADUs throughout the community as a viable and effective way to help address the ever-increasing need for affordable housing.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity of Hillsborough County, please visit www.habitathillsborough.org.

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