ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg leaders announced Wednesday a new plan to pave the way for more affordable housing in the growing city, where rent prices have shot up 46% over the past 5 years.
Starting in 2020, St. Pete will allocate a total of $60 million dollars towards projects to create affordable housing. Mayor Rick Kriseman announced over the next 10 years, St. Pete will build 2,400 affordable multi-family housing units, create a new requirement for developers to pay fees towards an affordable housing pool, support the construction of 300 accessory dwelling units like carriage houses and garage apartments, provide 150 single-family lots for construction of new affordable homes and help 3,200 homeowners stay in their homes through grants and city funding as costs rise.
Mayor Kriseman says the plan will help a total of 7,000 households over the next 10 years.
The 2,400 new affordable units add up to double the number of affordable apartments the city has constructed over the past 10 years, according to city administration.
The money will come from local and federal sources including $1.5 million in federal dollars from the HOME Investment Partnership. The city will also use $2.5 million in state money from the State Housing Initiative Partnership. The city will use the remainder of the money from local funds from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax, South St Pete Community Redevelopment taxes, fees paid by developers, a linkage fee also paid by developers and donation of existing city-owned land.
The plan will target single-income families, retirees, single parents and workers who make reasonable wages but not enough to afford rent including nurses, police officers and firefighters.
16,000 families in Pinellas County and 20,000 in Hillsborough County are on waiting lists for subsidized apartments or housing vouchers, according to the local housing authorities.
St. Pete leaders say it's a necessity to invest in affordable housing projects. "We must be able to provide affordable, quality housing for those who aspire to live in St. Pete. This will expand existing programs and introduce new solutions to provide opportunities to thousands," Mayor Rick Kriseman explained.
The plan comes at a crucial time as Florida's statewide affordable housing plan continues to be tapped into for other purposes. For the 12th year in a row, state lawmakers dipped into a trust fund set up for affordable housing in order to plug holes in the budget.