HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Local governments are looking a different ways to address the affordable housing crisis.
Rent prices around Tampa Bay are up nearly 40% since last year, according to Zumper National Rent Report.
County leaders say they’ve allocated all of the $54 million provided by the federal government.
“Thousands of applications were processed and approved,” explains Luisa Rodriguez-Zmoda with Hillsborough County Social Services.
County commissioners expect to receive another $10 million to help families afford rent, but there’s no timeline for the funds.
Rodriguez-Zmoda encourages renters to explore alternatives.
“If they qualify they can receive assistance for other necessities like their utility bill and their water bill and then they can use some of their own money to pay for their rent,” she suggests.
“I think greed has taken in and we have gouging rental prices,” said Tampa City Council Chairman Gudes.
He’s exploring emergency solution for those in the City of Tampa.
“We just go to bite the bullet a little bit and see how we can stabilize it again. Not rent control, but stabilize the renting situation,” Gudes told 8 On Your Side.
The St. Petersburg City Council is set to discuss possible solutions to the housing issue at a meeting Thursday.
Mayor Ken Welch says he’s reviewing council’s request for a declaration of emergency and rent control referendum.
“A big part of that equation is not just controlling rent prices of the folk who are already in affordable apartments, but putting more affordable apartments on the ground. It’s a quantity issue we need to deal with, ” he said. “It’s all hands on deck on that issue.”
Chris Jones, an economics instructor with the University of South Florida, expects rent prices to begin stabilizing by the end of 2022.
In the meantime, Hillsborough County leaders recommend those who need assistance register on www.ourflorida.com.