2023 Central District All Faculty Symposium – Family and Consumer Sciences
L. Hamilton, UF/IFAS Extension Volusia County, Deland, FL, J. Rodriguez, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando, FL, J. Anderson, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando, FL, H. Ayers, UF/IFAS Extension Orange County, Orlando, FL, J. Gomez, UF/IFAS Extension Osceola County, Kissimmee, FL, L. Duncan, UF/IFAS Extension Sumter County, Bushnell, FL, G. Benitez, UF/IFAS Extension Marion County, Ocala, FL, M. Thomas, UF/IFAS Extension Flagler County, Bunnell, FL, S. Taylor, UF/IFAS Extension Hernando County, Brooksville, FL., W. Lynch, UF/IFAS Extension St. Johns County, St. Augustine, FL.
Situation: Stable housing is a basic human need and is a fundamental component of attaining quality of life indicators such as educational success, good health, and building wealth (Goodman and Mayer, 2018). However, across Central Florida counties, up to 57% of households struggle to obtain or maintain housing due to low wages and high costs of living (United Way, 2020). These families can benefit from housing and financial education to learn to improve resource management and home care practices that promote safe and stable housing (Herbert and Molinsky, 2020). Objectives include improving money management skills, understanding landlord/tenant rights, and responsibilities or the process of purchasing a home, and improving home care and maintenance practices. Programs also assist residents to meet eligibility requirements for rental, home buyer, and owner-occupied repair funding available through local governments.
Methods: Central District Extension agents delivered rental, home buyer, and home maintenance programs in nine counties in 2022. Classes were offered virtually and in-person and ranged from 90 minutes to eight hours. Rental education was made available virtually at seven community centers. Participants received curricula, money management calendars, and other resources via mail or access to a password protected website. Results: Ten agents provided 21 rental, 14 home buyer, and 6 home maintenance classes to 1,164 participants in 9 counties. Across all classes, 97% – 100% of participants reported learning or improving financial, rental, home purchase, or home care and maintenance skills or practices. In 2022, 357 rental participants avoided eviction and 8% (58) of home buyer participants purchased homes. Participants received $832,351 in rental assistance, $495,000 for down payment assistance, and $170,000 for home repair. Conclusion: UF/IFAS Extension housing education programs promote housing stability and improved quality of life for Central District residents.