NewsPasco County

Actions

Pasco building incentives could lead to more affordable housing

Screen Shot 2020-03-05 at 3.45.15 PM.png
Posted at 4:13 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 19:05:06-05

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. -- Single mother Jessica Bishop has struggled for years to find the right kind of home at the right kind of price.

“You get what you pay for," she said.

With two kids, a boy and a girl, Jessica simply needs more room.

“They are sharing a bedroom, with the age and privacy. It’s just not working for them right now.”

A United Way report found 45 percent of Pasco households are below the poverty level.

And with Pasco rental prices up more than 70 percent in the last 13 years, officials say there is a great need for affordable housing.

“When you look at who needs affordable housing, it could be nurses, teachers, people that work for the government," said Pasco County community development director Marcy Esbjerg.

Esbjerg is recommending the county commission to start waving mobility fees that developers pay as an incentive for them to build more affordable housing.

That’s homes an apartments that a person making less than $37,000 can handle.

For a family of four, it’s less than $54,000.

“The people that wait on our tables or that help us with our laundry. Or even 911 dispatch and ambulance drivers. Everything. They all qualify. And if we need those people to serve in our community then we need to house them as well," said Esbjerg.

Jessica is one the lucky ones. She’ll soon get a new home she can finally afford as part of Habitat for Humanity.

“Everything is brand new. It’s mind. It’s an asset. The kids will have their own room. We can have a dog,” she said.

There are 12 candidates lined up in Pasco County for Habitat for Humanity Homes.

And there are about a thousand people on the waiting list for public housing in Pasco County.