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Tampa non-profit creating new, affordable housing in Jackson Heights

Posted at 5:12 PM, Feb 25, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. — A backyard to play ball in was one of the things Paul Venghaus and his wife searched for when buying a home.

“We definitely knew we wanted to get out of renting,” said new homeowner Paul Venghaus.

Venghaus says he was forced out of his affordable apartment when it converted to an Airbnb. Then investors paying cash outbid them on several West Tampa homes for sale.

“We would try and see something and it would already be gone or people would be stubborn on only accepting cash offers,” he explained. So, Venghaus bought a new construction home in Jackson Heights close to the downtown Tampa urban core — affordable housing built through Tampa’s Corporation to Develop Communities, Inc..

“We just aren’t building enough. There isn’t enough funding available to meet the demand of this region,” said Frank Cornier, VP Real Estate Development CDC of Tampa.

Both the City of Tampa and Hillsborough County have affordable housing initiatives, but the CDC’s Frank Cornier says huge demand is still unmet forcing longer commutes.

“What happens to a lot of those people is what I call, 'drive until you can afford,'” said Cornier.

The ALICE report released by the Suncoast United Way shows 43 percent of working families are struggling to afford the basics including food on the table, transportation and rent.

“Stability and not having to worry about the rent going up and not having to worry about moving expenses every year,” said Venghaus.

That’s priceless for this millennial who’s building his future and enjoying his backyard.

“Here we’re building equity and we’re building it for the long term,” he said.