Tampa City Council says 2022 budget should have more money for affordable housing ‘crisis’

Currently, Castor’s proposed budget for Housing and Community Development is at $16.1 million.

click to enlarge “Housing is a big crisis,” said council chair Orlando Gudes during the Aug. 16 meeting. - ADOBE
Adobe
“Housing is a big crisis,” said council chair Orlando Gudes during the Aug. 16 meeting.

On Monday evening, Tampa City Council held a special workshop solely focused on Tampa’s 2022 budget, which was presented by Mayor Jane Castor on Aug. 5. During the meeting, the most urgent need cited over and over again by council members was affordable housing.

“Housing is a big crisis,” said council chair Orlando Gudes during the meeting. He said that the city needs to look out for everybody’s needs, especially the underprivileged who often need quality, accessible housing.

Councilman John Dingfelder pointed out that the economy and people’s lives have been deeply impacted by the effects of COVID-19, and that affordable housing is urgently needed in Tampa, especially at a time when renters are currently facing an “avalanche” of evictions when the Center For Disease Control’s eviction moratorium expires. 

Dingfelder suggested that one way to put more money into affordable housing in next year’s budget is to use the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funds that are slated to go to Tampa’s solid waste department. Currently, $5.5 million of ARPA funds are slated to go to a capital project for a waste transfer station at McKay Bay. 

Councilmembers pointed out that a $50 million bond is already going to be used for that project, and said that the solid waste department could for now add the $5.5 million to that bond to be paid off over a number of years. The ARPA funds could then be freed to go to the city’s “Housing and Community Development” budget. 

Although council members are not able to make this budgeting decision for 2022, Gudes and Dingfelder pointed out that they’ve worked with the current administration on many issues, and hoped that their request for the budget would be heard.

Currently, Castor’s proposed budget for Housing and Community Development is at $16.1 million. The added funds would increase that funding to $21.6 million. 

The Housing and Community Development funds currently calls for:

  • Unrestricted Owner Occupied Rehabilitation for recipients earning >80% Average Median Income and/or with home repairs costing >$50,000
  • Rental Infill- New fund to activate unused units in existing developments
  • Homeless Outreach - To directly support a range of sheltering options for the homeless population
  • Build-Ready program – Targeted and strategic property acquisition and/or parcel remediation to reduce the cost of building income-qualifying units

Mayor Castor's proposed budget, which will have hearings in September before it is approved, can be found via tampa.gov/budget.

Send anonymous news tips to [email protected]. Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team works tirelessly to bring you news on how coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.

Subscribe to our newsletter and follow @cl_tampabay on Twitter.

About The Author

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia previously wrote for the USA Today Network, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Scalawag Magazine, and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 


Scroll to read more Tampa Bay News articles
Join the Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Creative Loafing Tampa Bay, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected]