ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As St. Petersburg continues to grow, those living in the city are having a harder time finding affordable housing.
So, in an effort to help more people buy homes and increase the number of affordable homes on the market, St. Pete is making some changes to several of its assistance programs.
"The goal of these changes is to make the programs more attainable and effective for residents and developers," the city wrote in a press release.
St. Pete is starting by increasing the amount of down payment assistance available to first-time homebuyers. Potential buyers can now access up to $60,000 in assistance, as opposed to the maximum $40,000 that was available before.
The amount of down payment assistance someone receives still depends on their household income. But now, those earning below 80 percent of the annual median income (AMI) will receive full forgiveness on the funds after living in their home for 10 years.
Those earning above 80 percent AMI will receive half-forgiveness after 10 years.
Next, is the homeowner rehabilitation assistance program, to help those in need afford to make necessary repairs to their homes. Those in the low-to-moderate-income range can now apply for up to $60,000 in assistance, which is $15,000 more than was available before.
St. Pete is also hoping to give developers a reason to build more affordable single-family homes. The city is increasing its incentive from $10,000 to $15,000 for developers that construct affordable single-family homes in South St. Pete. It's also changing its reimbursement policies for developers.
“Increasing access to affordable and workforce housing is a top priority in my administration. These changes will allow prospective home buyers to access additional assistance becoming first-time homeowners and existing homeowners to access needed assistance improving their homes," Mayor Ken Welch wrote in a statement.
"The changes will also incentivize developers to build attainable housing for essential employees such as teachers, nurses, firefighters and police officers who might otherwise have difficulty finding affordable housing in today’s market. This is just one of many ways our administration is prioritizing intentional equity to tackle challenges, and we look forward to continued progress.”
The City of Tampa also recently expanded an affordable housing program to help first-time buyers purchase homes that are valued at a higher price and have access to a higher forgivable loan amount.