TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – As the Tampa Bay area continues to see record highs in property values and rent increases, local governments are searching for ways to help those who may be getting pushed out by the high prices.
More than halfway through the year, the trend of rising rent prices hit more than 22% compared to last year; some of the highest in the country. Now, local government leaders are teaming up with community organizations to help find solutions to those are losing their homes to increased demand and rent.
It’s an unnatural disaster that some saw coming years ago.
“The Tampa Bay area crisis, as we call it, the housing tsunami, is here. A decade ago we used to say that there was a tsunami coming, but we can see it. It has new faces,” said Janet Stringfellow with Volunteers of America.
Those faces are of people losing their homes or being unable to find places to buy or rent due to rising costs. In Tampa, Zumper.com says the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment is more than $1,600; up 40% from last year.
Hillsborough County Affordable Housing says they’ve never seen anything like this before.
“We’re seeing rents skyrocketing by hundreds of dollars per month. We’re seeing families being displaced,” said Cheryl Howell with the Hillsborough County Affordable Housing.
That’s why they’re working to bring more affordable housing to the area. One project plans to bring at least 36 units for multi-family affordable housing.
In Pinellas, county leaders, along with St. Petersburg city leaders, are providing funding as they team up with one non-profit to build housing for the most vulnerable.
“There will be 50 units here that will be for families that make less than 60% of the median income for the area, and there will be other 12 units that are for families that make less than that,” said Arelys Escalera with Pinellas County.
“We believe that it’s going to have a tremendous impact for a very distressed community. Also, it’s in a great area. It’s going to be one of the best landmarks for people looking for affordable housing. This is the place to live,” said Stringfellow.