New rebate program for St. Petersburg homeowners - WFLA News Channel 8

New rebate program for St. Petersburg homeowners

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ST PETERSBURG -

The city of St. Petersburg is trying to lure investment dollars to improve housing in needy neighborhoods.

On a quick drive through the Melrose Mercy neighborhood in St. Petersburg it's easy to see several homes badly in need of repair.

It's one of several depressed areas in St. Petersburg that the city is targeting with a new program called 'Rebates for Residential Rehabs'.

"Particularly in the hardest hit neighborhoods we're mostly getting spray paint and no renovations, so we're trying to find a way to incentivize to get people to do real renovations," said Karl Nurse, St. Petersburg City Council Chairman.

Here's how it works. In specific low-income neighborhoods, homeowners who spend $25,000 in renovations, can get a rebate of $5000 up to a maximum of up to $10,000.

Homeowners must fill out the rebate application and have a pre-inspection before the work begins. Also the work must be from a predetermined list in specific neighborhoods.

The rebate program doesn't just target homeowners. The city also hopes it provides an incentive to investors to come in and buy up foreclosed homes in disrepair and improve the housing conditions as well as the neighborhood.

The rebate caught Michael Anderson's attention. he owns three rental properties in the area and is about to buy two more. "If they'll give me 20% of it , absolutely it is an incentive because now you're only spending 80% to do something that will enhance your property and upgrade the value of it," said Michael Anderson, Investor.

But local resident Sharon Russ is concerned that it will drive-up rent prices for people who can not afford it. "When investors, other people come in from other parts of the county, the rent is too high for the income that most people in this neighborhood live on," said Sharon Russ.

Still Nurse points out, there's a need for housing, and the repair work will also bring jobs to the area. About 50% of renovation costs goes to labor.

 

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