ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Skyrocketing rent across the Tampa Bay area has many calling on local officials to find a way to provide some relief.
In St. Petersburg, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is now $1,450, which is 21% higher than last year.
St. Petersburg city council members took action on Thursday and approved funding for affordable housing.
The city will give $750,000 in funding to a private housing company to purchase and renovate 12 units on Russell Street South.
“These partnerships are critical to solving that problem,” City Council Chair Gina Driscoll said.
According to Driscoll, the current tenants will get to stay, and the rent will remain affordable for the next 30 years.
Without the deal, Driscoll said the homes would go up for sale, and there’s no guarantee the rent would remain affordable.
“Prices are going up. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent right now, it’s really tough for so many people. So we have to do everything we can to make living in St. Petersburg more affordable for everyone,” Driscoll said.
Not everyone thinks this is the best use of city funds.
“After those 30 years, are the rents going to double?” questioned Karla Correa, an organizer with the St. Petersburg Tenants Union.
Correa believes the city needs more permanent solutions.
“We need guaranteed, permanent affordable housing. Not temporary solutions like this,” said Correa.
The funds come from the city’s economic stability fund.
City council members are also looking into rent prices and plan to discuss stabilization options more in February.