Bay-area residents desperate for affordable housing

Crisis in housing

TAMPA, FL  --  The need for affordable housing in the Bay Area continues to get worse. Right now, more than 20,000 people are on the Tampa Housing Authority's wait list.
 
Tamara Correa, her son, daughter, and grandson are running out of options. When 10News met them, they were staying in a hotel thanks to a church donation. 
 
" I'm very thankful for them that she did come out, bring us a check, so at least we don't be you know, in the streets," said Tamara Correa.
 
Tamara said she can't work anymore because of a long list of health problems including lupus, fibromyalgia, and migraines. Her daughter also has lupus and kidney failure requiring dialysis three times a week.
 
"Every day is a struggle for me when I wake up."
 
Unfortunately, there's no good option for Tamara and her family. She told 10News they've been on a wait list for eight years. The Tampa Housing Authority has 22,000 people on that  same waitlist. Some have been waiting for more than ten years. The Tampa Housing Authority knows this is a crisis but it's not just the city of Tampa.
 
In April, 3,000 Pinellas County residents gathered at a meeting at Tropicana Field sponsored by FAST demanding the county do more for affordable housing.
 
"I know of nurses and teachers who can't buy their first house for their family because it's simply out of their price range right now, " said Paul Gibson, a  member of the FAST Affordable Housing Committee.
 
A majority of Pinellas County Commissioners and St. Petersburg City Council members were at the meeting to respond to concerns. FAST wants to see lawmakers allocate a certain percentage of the next 10-year cycle of Penny for Pinellas funds go to affordable housing. 
 
Part of the problem starts at the state level.
 
For the 10th year in a row, Florida lawmakers are again proposing to take money from the affordable housing trust  fund and put it in the general revenue fund. According to the Florida Housing Coalition, since the 2008-2009 fiscal year, nearly $1.5 billion has been taken from the housing fund and spent elsewhere. Jaimie Ross, the President and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition said there's no way to track where exactly the money is being spent once it's put in the general revenue fund. 
 
The William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund currently has $292 million in it for the 2017-18 fiscal year. The Senate is proposing $130 million be redirected to general revenue funds. The House proposes taking $224 million from the housing trust fund. This will be worked out in the budget conference the first week of May.
 
To contact your legislator about the affordable housing crisis, visit http://www.sadowskicoalition.org/. There is a link to type your address, find your legislator, and send them your concerns.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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