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Affordable housing complex opens in St. Pete as officials fight skyrocketing prices

SkyWay Lofts in St. Petersburg
Posted at 5:36 PM, Mar 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-29 18:37:46-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When people started applying to live at the new Skyway Lofts in St. Petersburg, the demand far outpaced the supply. Officials said they got 1800 responses for 65 available units.

Rashida Strober was one of the lucky ones.

“I like the new construction. I remember K-Mart. I was born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida," she said. "So it’s kind of strange looking across the street. There’s no K-Mart anymore. But it’s beautiful over there. And I’m right by the water."

Skyway Lofts on 34th Street South in St. Petersburg is part of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program. The program helps local governments work to create affordable places for people to live.

“It’s their number one priority and partnering with the state drawing down those federal funds we’ve committed most of American Rescue Plan funds to housing. It’s our number one issue that we are working on,” said Mayor Ken Welch.

Just across the street, there’s an apartment complex some 2-bedroom units rent for well over $3000 a month.

At Skyway Lofts, rent is based on income for people making less than $35,000 a year.

  • 1-bedrooms range from about $350 to $1000.
  • 2-bedrooms from about $400 to about $1200.

Rashida is happy to be here. She was once homeless but has earned her master’s degree and now has a place she and her daughter can afford.

“I’ve worked really really hard. But still. Even still it’s been hard. So I’m grateful. Thankful to God that I’ve been able to get this opportunity,” said Strober,

Officials in Pinellas County have approved the construction of hundreds more affordable housing units in the near future. But until those units are built, the housing crisis will remain across the Tampa Bay area.