TAMPA, Fla – As the housing crisis looms, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council is taking action to address the future of affordable housing.
The TBRPC, in partnership with The Florida Housing Coalition, Forward Pinellas, and The Urban Land Institute Tampa Bay, hosted the “Resilience and Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing (REACH) Conference today at the Hilton Carillon Park Hotel in St. Petersburg focusing on leadership strategies to make affordable housing more sustainable and resilient.
“Not only are housing and rent prices skyrocketing in Tampa Bay, but our region faces significant threats with sea level rise and flooding,” said Brandi Gabbard, chair of the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council. “We must proactively find new ideas to keep people safe and protect their homes for years to come.”
As part of the REACH Conference, leaders unveiled a new analysis of flood risks to affordable housing and discussed ways to set new construction and mitigation goals. Additionally, housing leaders from across Tampa Bay shared new initiatives to increase housing construction, affordability and resilience.
“This is an opportunity for Tampa Bay housing leaders to work together and really set a regional vision. In our history, this issue has never been more urgent and important as it is now,” said Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano. Mariano was one of more than a dozen elected leaders who spoke during today’s conference.
Another key part of the conference focused on sustainability in affordable housing, including reducing energy bills with weatherization and energy efficiency programs. Leaders also discussed opportunities to increase funding for housing mitigation in vulnerable communities.
“With people already struggling to afford rent with rising inflation, we must act quickly to provide relief. The REACH conference is a step in the right direction to promote regional collaboration,” Manatee County Commissioner Vanessa Baugh said.
Developing affordable housing is a top priority in Tampa Bay. The City of St. Petersburg has allocated $34.3 million to build affordable units, so that tenants aren’t spending more than 30% of their income for rent. In Tampa, Mayor Jane Castor set a goal of 10,000 affordable apartments by 2027. The conference is supported by a grant from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation.
For more information on the REACH Conference, visit: https://www.tbrpc.org/event/reach-conf5/
For more information on the Tampa Bay REACH Initiative, visit: https://www.tbrpc.org/reach/