News & Information: REALTOR® News

Orlando REALTORS® launch project to build homes for military veterans

Tuesday, February 25, 2014  
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(l-r) REALTOR® Beverly Evans, chairman of the Florida Real Estate Foundation; Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; and REALTOR® Zola Szerencses, chairman of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association, commemorate the City of Orlando's support of Heroes' Commons At Jefferson Park.

Six military veterans will soon have their dreams of homeownership fulfilled thanks to the efforts of Orlando REALTORS®.

Behind-the-scenes work has been going on for more than a year, but an affordable housing initiative spearheaded by local REALTORS® officially launched on February 24 when the City of Orlando approved the donation of six lots in downtown Orlando to the Florida Real Estate Foundation, the charitable arm of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association.

The lots are located in the Parramore neighborhood off Benson Avenue, on Polk Street and Jefferson Street.

"The foundation and its project partners are grateful to the Orlando City Council for their donation of the six lots. By removing the cost of the land, the city’s donation will contribute to the homes’ affordability and will help enormously in getting the project off the ground,” says REALTOR® Beverly Evans, of Axel Real Estate, Inc., and chairman of the Florida Real Estate Foundation.

"The City of Orlando is pleased to support the Florida Real Estate Foundation initiative,” adds Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. "Through the Pathways for Parramore initiative, the City of Orlando has made significant strides in revitalizing the Parramore neighborhood including a focus on providing more opportunities for homeownership in the community. This partnership with the foundation will further support these efforts.”

The six contiguous lots donated to the foundation will be transformed into Heroes’ Commons at Jefferson Park, a "village” which centers around six detached, single-family homes. The village will include shared garage access, green space, and connectivity between the homes to create a commons area.

View more details about the
Heroes' Commons at Jefferson Park project

Future Homeowners

The primary goal of Heroes’ Commons at Jefferson Park is to provide mortgage-free homes to (in order of priority):

  • Income-qualified, disabled veterans from any branch of the United States Armed Forces;
  • Income-qualified veterans; or
  • Income-qualified City of Orlando and Orange County public safety employees*.


"The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association is honored to offer homeownership to those who have served,” says ORRA Chairman Zola Szerencses, RE/MAX 200 Realty. "The service men and women who defend our country and our way of life are also defending the American dream of homeownership, for which REALTORS® are grateful.”

Future homeowners will have access to supportive social services that ease the transition to civilian life and family life. Customized services related to mental health, physical health, and education will be available for as long as they are needed.

Housing and Neighborhood Development Services (HANDS) of Central Florida has once again partnered with the foundation to handle qualifying potential homeowners and ensuring that they fulfill the project’s income and education requirements.

A military veteran or City of Orlando/Orange County public safety employee who is interested in becoming a Heroes’ Commons at Jefferson Park homeowner can contact HANDS by visiting calling 407.447.5686.


Florida Real Estate Foundation’s Heroes’ Commons at Jefferson Park Project Partners:
Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association | Central Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects | Central Florida Urban League | City of Orlando | Fair Housing Continuum, Inc.| Home Builders Association of Metro Orlando| Housing and Neighborhood Development Services of Central Florida, Inc.

The Florida Real Estate Foundation was created by the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association in 2005 to address Central Florida’s critical need for affordable, workforce housing. Heroes’ Commons at Jefferson Park will be a project of the foundation’s award winning "Art in Architecture” program.

The Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association represents more than 9,500 real estate professionals throughout Central Florida and protects the private property rights of all homeowners.

"Public Safety Employees” are defined by the City of Orlando and Orange County to mean those persons who are full-time, sworn employees of local police departments, sheriff's office, corrections departments, or other law enforcement agencies; and members of local fire departments responsible for at least one of the following: fire suppression, emergency medical response and patient care, fire and injury prevention, arson investigation, hazardous materials incident response and management, and/or response to acts of terrorism.

ORRA Partners
ORRA would like to thank our Partners for their continuing support.
View the full list of ORRA Partners.