Ability Housing, Inc.

Building Strong Communities Where Everyone Has a Home

Jacksonville, FL   |  www.abilityhousing.org


MISSION The mission of Ability Housing is to build strong communities where everyone has a home. Building: We build housing and transform sources of blight and disrepair into community assets. Strong Communities: We strengthen communities by ensuring residents have wrap-around supports to help each achieve their potential. Everyone: We help some of our most vulnerable neighbors - families and individuals who have a disability, are experiencing or at risk of homelessness - so they can grow as contributing members of our community. Home: We provide quality housing because everyone should have a place to sleep, eat and raise their family. VISION: A society where housing is a right, not a privilege, and all individuals have safe, affordable housing in vibrant communities.

Notes from the nonprofit

The mission of Ability Housing is to build strong communities where everyone has a home. Building: Ability Housing builds quality housing and transforms areas of blight and disrepair into community assets. Strong Communities: Ability Housing strengthens communities by ensuring residents have wrap-around supports to achieve their potential. Everyone: Ability Housing assists our most vulnerable neighbors – families and individuals with a disability and/or those experiencing -or at risk of - homelessness so they can grow as contributing members of the community. Home: Ability Housing provides quality affordable housing because everyone should have a safe place to sleep, eat, and raise their family.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Mrs. Shannon Nazworth

Main address

3740 Beach Blvd Suite 304

Jacksonville, FL 32207 USA

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Formerly known as

Grove House of Jacksonville, Inc.

Abilily Housing of Northeast Florida, Inc.



NTEE code info

Housing Development, Construction, Management (L20)

Other Housing, Shelter N.E.C. (L99)

Other Housing Support Services (L80)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Ability Housing serves, invests in, and represents: adults with disabilities, chronically homeless households, and low-income working families facing housing instability and risk of homelessness. Due to fixed incomes or low-wages, low-income households face a shortage of affordable housing options. On occasions where they find affordable housing, they often face barriers to accessing it such as prior evictions, criminal and poor credit histories. Chronically homeless households face additional barriers such as chronic health conditions (primary and behavioral) that require several supports over time. Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) – affordable housing linked with support services – is highly effective in helping these households achieve housing stability; however, finding a PSH provider can be a challenge. We address these issues by: ensuring our housing is affordable; implementing the PSH model; and utilizing the Housing First model to eliminate preconditions to housing entry.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?


The Villages Program addresses an urgent community need: affordable and supportive housing for the most vulnerable populations including those experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, persons with a disability, homeless veterans and chronically homeless families and individuals. The quality multi-family rental properties provide affordable housing linked with individualized support services for all residents. All Village Program properties are dedicated to fostering the dignity and independence of residents; the overarching goals of the program are for residents to maintain housing and increase their quality of life.

Population(s) Served

CASA is Ability Housing's first project. It is a scattered-site single-family rental project consisting of 29 homes scattered throughout the community. CASA provides quality, affordable housing for adults with a disability; it is called CASA because each home is Convenient, Affordable, Safe and Accessible. CASA was designed for adults with a developmental disability that wish to live independently in the community; but do not want to live alone. Each house is rented to two or three roommates. Residents have their own supports and are responsible for selecting their roommates. Rents are affordable, varying based upon each tenant's ability to pay. CASA is so innovative it was designated a State Demonstration Project by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. Further, according to annual surveys of our residents, 100% of respondents rate their housing as good or excellent.

Population(s) Served

HousingLink is a scattered-site permanent supportive housing program which enables persons with a disability who have experienced long-term or repetitive homelessness to access housing within the community. Funded by several homeless assistance grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HousingLink provides residents with rental assistance so that they can afford housing provided by others in the community. Ability Housing then partners with area service providers to ensure that residents have access to the supports they need to retain their housing and increase their self-sufficiency. All supports are voluntary. With HousingLink, Ability Housing is able to expand the housing options it can offer to the community's chronically homeless neighbors and help more people exit homelessness - forever.

Population(s) Served

Where we work


Fair/Accessible Housing Award 2009

Jacksonville Human Rights Commission

Fair/Accessible Housing Award 2013

Jacksonville Human Rights Commission

Special Needs Housing Assistance 2013

Florida Housing Coalition

Housing is for Everyone 2014

TD Charitable Foundation

Regional Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing 2018

Northeast Florida Regional Council

Woman of Influence 2018

Jacksonville Business Journal

Eastern Region Advocate of the Year 2014

Corporation for Supportive Housing

Affordable Housing Multifamily 2021

Globe Street Award

Award of Merit-Village at Hyde PArk 2021

PCBC Gold Nugget Award

2020 Local Focus-Lasting Impacts 2020

Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida

Executive of the Year 2020

Multifamily Executive

Ultimate CEO 2020

Jacksonville Business Journal

The Ripple Effect Award 2017

Northeast Florida Mental Health Award

Sapphire Award 2020

Florida Blue

2020 Eve Award- Shannon Nazworth 2020

Florida Times Union

Innovation- Quality in Supportive Housing Development Award 2021


Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of homeless participants engaged in housing services

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Single parents, People with disabilities

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Ability Housing’s goal is to build stronger communities where everyone has a home.

The solution to Florida’s growing housing crisis is clear: the greater community must preserve and create more affordable housing. Having an affordable, permanent place to call home – giving a family a front door – is key to an individual’s self, sufficiency, health, and overall wellness.

With the strategic plan as the organization’s guide, Ability Housing challenges the status quo to generate innovative solutions rooted in evidence-based practices.

The strategic plan prioritizes the following objectives:

• End chronic homelessness
• Provide mission-focused affordable housing for homeless and/or at-risk households
• Support local policies which embrace industry best practices
• Affect state systems to effectively and efficiently align housing with voluntary supportive services

The Board of Directors is deeply committed to the strategic plan priorities above. The Board developed the following goals to achieve the priorities within the strategic plan:

Goal 1: Identify developers for neighborhood revitalization efforts
Goal 2: Strengthen strategy and development capacity
Goal 3: Expand operations capabilities
Goal 4: Enhance property development plans
Goal 5: Revise demographics of properties for 2025-2026
Goal 6: Advocate for policy that impacts affordable housing

Goal 1 Strategies:
• Identify target communities and neighborhoods for 2020-2022
• Determine property-specific neighborhood engagement needs and opportunities

Goal 2 Strategies:
• Finalize strategic plan including fundraising plan
• Finalize Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
• Update website and revise collateral materials
• Deepen board engagement

Goal 3 Strategies:
• Hire full-time Operations Director
• Hire full-time Asset Manager
• Hire full-time Receptionist/Office Admin Support
• Implement Wayne Densch Center asset management processes
• Finalize Asset Management Manual; including transition from property development to asset management

Goal 4 Strategies:
• Hire full-time Property Development Director
• Identify annual property development milestones
• Identify general contracting partners
• Identify architect partners
• Identify new referral sources, partnerships and service needs
• Engage board in developing strategy

Goal 5 Strategies:
• Identify new referral sources, partnerships and service needs
• Engage board in developing strategy

Goal 6 Strategies:
• Position Ability Housing as topic expert on affordable and supportive housing
• Prepare for 2021 policy engagement; including developing an engagement plan/determining use of lobbyist(s)

As Ability Housing serves very low income and formerly homeless individuals, understanding the challenges faced by this population is critical to our decision-making. Two of our board members are formerly homeless; one is a former resident of our affordable and supportive housing program. They each bring invaluable experience to the development of project concepts and programming to serve low-income and formerly homeless households.

Shannon Nazworth, President & CEO, leads our agency with over 20 years’ experience in the development and operation of affordable and supportive housing. In addition to her work at Ability Housing, she chairs the Florida Council on Homelessness and is board president of the Florida Supportive Housing Coalition.

Mendy Thompson, Finance & Administration Director, oversees Ability Housing’s Finance, Operations, and HR functions. Mendy is a Florida CPA with 30 years of experience in finance, accounting, administration and operations oversight primarily related to real estate investment, development and management. Mendy has worked with a variety of product types including office, industrial, multi-family and senior living. She has worked closely with equity investors, lenders and operating partners with a focus on the full cycle of real estate. Her experience includes public, private and nonprofit environments. Mendy held senior positions with Whitehall Realty Partners, Flagler Development and St Joe prior to joining Ability Housing. She began her career with Deloitte.

Cody Spencer, Director of Programs. Cody has had the opportunity to serve individuals experiencing homelessness in the North Florida area for over 10 years. During this time, Cody has served on multiple committees ranging from Coordinated Entry System Performance to Data Quality and Equity. Prior to joining Ability Housing, Cody served as the Senior Director of Supportive Services at the Sulzbacher Center, overseeing multiple federal, state, and local grants ranging from emergency shelter programs to Permanent Supportive Housing programs. Additionally, Cody served as the community leader for the Community Solutions Built for Zero Campaign-a nationwide effort to end Veteran homelessness. Cody is an active member in several CoC Agencies, serving in Central, Northeast, and North Florida.

In 2020, Ability Housing assisted over one thousand five hundred individuals in accessing and maintaining safe, stable housing. We serve our residents through three program types: The Villages Program, CASA, and HousingLink. The Villages Program provided 1,313 individuals, 578 of which were formerly homeless, stable housing through our six multifamily rental properties. CASA served 55 individuals through our community-inclusive housing program for adults with disabilities. HousingLink is our rental assistance linked with individualized supports program that assists persons experiencing chronic homelessness access to community housing. In 2020, we served 156 individuals through the HousingLink program. This intentional and dedicated growth aligns with our strategic plan to increase the number of people we serve by 500% by 2025.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Ability Housing serves the most vulnerable people in our community: low-income families, persons at risk of or experiencing homelessness, and adults with a disability. Every household is low-income earning 80% or less of the Area Median Income (AMI) with the majority earning 30% or less AMI. Seventy-five percent of the persons served were Black/African American and sixty percent were females.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Case management notes, Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Resident Information Management Program,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    We hired a new position, Resident Leadership/Community Engagement Coordinator to work with the residents. The Resident and Community Engagement Coordinator supports Ability Housing’s Programs Department in maximizing resident housing stability and self-sufficiency. This position works in the community to develop and retain resident services, coordinate resident engagement activities and foster resident leadership. This work requires a high degree of professional independence, initiative and self-discipline.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Developed a resident association initiative connected to neighborhood‐wide associations, community organizing initiatives, and civic engagement. Working with property management and third-party support service providers to ensure resident understanding of tenant rights and responsibilities. Utilized evaluation and survey tools and related strategies to ensure the Programs Department is meeting resident needs. Mobilized community residents around critical neighborhood and community issues.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection,


Ability Housing, Inc.

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Ability Housing, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 04/18/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Michael Griffin


Board co-chair

Davis McCarty

Gregory Matovina

Matovina & Company, President

Davis McCarty

Retired Business Executive

Jake Peek

Driver, McAfee, Peek & Hawthorne, Partner

Michael Griffin

Vice President of Advocacy and Public Policy

Shelly Kobb

Senior Vice President, Bank CRA Officer TIAA, FSB

Tiffany Adams

Family Promise of Jacksonville, Family Support Manager

Richard Pierpont

Retired Business Executive

Reggie Fullwood

Operation New Hope, President

Damien Haitsuka

WellsFargo, Northeast FL Region Bank President

Ellen Rogers

Bank of America SVP, Market Executive Community Development

Belvin Perry, Jr.

Morgan & Morgan Attorney at Law

Cerita Battles

JP Morgan Chase Managing Director, Head of Community & Affordable Lending

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 4/18/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 07/12/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.