Another construction delay holds up Tampa affordable housing

More delays on a Tampa Housing Authority project will mean more people in need will have to wait longer for an affordable place to live.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Residents looking for an affordable place to live at the Tampa Housing Authority's Trio at Encore development will have to wait another six months before they're able to move in. 

"Not only is it frustrating, it's beginning to get ridiculous," said Claudia Clemons, an 80-year-old woman who's been on the waiting list for nearly two years. 

The Trio building off of historic Central Avenue near downtown Tampa was supposed to be finished, but construction delays continue to hold up the project. 

"It was frustrating for all of us because we felt like this building should have been completed by now," said Jerome Ryans, CEO for the Tampa Housing Authority. 

"We pretty much had to do redo a lot of the building itself. We had a contractor that simply did not fulfill their obligation as a contractor. We had to terminate that arrangement and that agreement and we've got a new contractor on board," he said. 

Earlier: As demolition starts on Tampa's oldest public housing project, some feel pushed out

The Trio building would offer hundreds of mixed-income units, with about 70 units at a reduced rate for those with lower incomes. 

"Affordable housing is a major issue in this community. It's only 200-something units over here. However, 200 units makes a difference in this community when we have thousands of folks on our waiting list," said Ryans. 
 
But for anxious neighbors like Clemons, the waiting is becoming too much. 

"You don't know who to blame," she said. "Whether you going to blame the housing authority, whether you going to blame HUD, whether you going blame the contractors or the management corporation or who you gonna blame, but someone needs to step up and take the blame and do what's right."

Ryans said the revised construction timeline should allow residents in by June or July 2018. The building was originally slated for completion about two years ago. 

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