ORLANDO, Fla. — As Central Florida’s population continues to grow rapidly, people continue to struggle to find a good home they can afford to live in.

But thanks to Orlando leaders approving plans for several housing developments on Monday, residents in the Parramore area should soon have more affordable options.

  • City council approves affordable housing units in Parramore
  • Part of initiative to repair, restore buildings, construct new ones
  • RELATED LINK: More Orange County news

The Orlando City Council approved several housing measures that will eventually add a minimum of 415 affordable housing units to the area just east of downtown.

Part of the initiatives repair and restore buildings still in good shape. Other measures allow construction to begin where crews have torn down old housing units and infrastructure is already in place for new development.

Nick Aiken has worked at Nikki’s Place, a soul food restaurant in Parramore, for nearly 70 years. He went from cooking and cleaning early on, to now being the head chef and co-owner of the business.

Aiken says over several decades, the community has changed. But he says he still works to make a plate of soul food affordable.

But Aiken says it’s become harder and harder for people in his community to find somewhere affordable to live.

“You’re not making $100,000 year, you’re only making a few hundred a week, and then you’ve got to pay the light bill, and all of that stuff out of that,” he said.

Aiken says many people in the community have come and gone while he’s been in business. He believes the new homes will keep people in the community and bring back people who left.

“If more people are here that means, we’re going to last longer, and more business is going to come in,” he said.

Aiken lived in affordable housing when he was younger.  He’s glad more of his customers, and neighbors, will have the opportunity to take pride in where they live.

“You bring people’s spirits up when you give them something nice they can afford to live in,” Aiken said.

Orlando city leaders say the developments are part of their overall effort to provide more affordable homes for people to rent and own.