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Florida Rising Organization Pushing to Stabilize Rents

An average of $300 a month rent increase is now being placed upon citizens on fixed incomes and low salaries due to the demand of properties in the Tampa Bay area. The housing market has increased nearly $80,000 per single family home, making property owners eager to sell or to increase the rent price.

Members of the Florida Rising organization and the community met at the steps of City Hall to discuss rent stabilization in Tampa. Several complaints from citizens facing eviction or have been evicted based on recent astronomical increases in rent payments.

Since the pandemic, real estate across the country has seen a 10 to 30% shift in values of residential real estate. In urban areas where home ownership is dwindling, families are being forced out of the place they once called home.

Robin Lockett, Regional Director of Florida Rising, spearheaded the press conference to follow the City Council meeting led by Orlando Gudes, Council Chair. As a matter of order, the Chair allowed the 8 to 10 speakers to discuss the affordable housing and rent stabilization crisis in the city because the councils agenda was filled.

Rodesha Floyd said “due to a $200 rent increase a couple of months ago, I was forced to move in the outskirts of Tampa. I could not afford rent anywhere else in Tampa, not in the usual places I grew up in,,,. My mom said they are moving all the Black folks out of Tampa.....In the midst of the housing crisis where rent has increased by 24% , where people spend on average 42% of their income on rent, the city of Tampa is closing down housing projects....” She ended with, “the City Council should declare a housing emergency!”

Cathleen Ruby of New Tampa said, “For 8 solid years I Have been a faithful and devoted resident. I’ve never paid my rent late, I cooperate with the noise ordinance. This is what I am paying now, $1,245 and when I came home a few weeks ago to a notice renewal to up over $500. In the New Tampa area, I enjoy my community, enjoy my side of town but I have no where to go. I’m just shouting out for help.”

As a solution, Ernest Coney of the CDC (Corporation to Develop Communities) said this, “so I think part of the solutions are to again review some policies to see if we can have it as a crisis and control the amount of the increases year over year.” It appears, Mayor Jane Castor and the city council have their work cut out for them balancing the needs and will of the people over the profits of property owners. What’s your Solution?

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