ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Skyrocketing rents in the Tampa Bay area are prompting many local officials to find a way to provide some relief.
In St. Petersburg, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is now $1,450, up 21% from a year ago.
St. Petersburg City Council members took action on Thursday and approved funding for affordable housing.
The city will provide $750,000 in funding to a private housing company to purchase and renovate 12 homes on Russell Street South.
“These partnerships are key to solving this problem,” City Council President Gina Driscoll said.
According to Driscoll, current tenants will be able to stay and rent will remain affordable for the next 30 years.
Without the deal, Driscoll said the homes would go up for sale and there was no guarantee the rent would remain affordable.
“The prices are going up. Whether you’re looking to buy or rent right now, it’s really tough for so many people. So we have to do everything we can to make life in St. Petersburg more affordable for everyone,” Driscoll said.
Not everyone thinks this is the best use of municipal funds.
“After these 30 years, will rents double?” asked Karla Correa, an organizer for the Union of St. Petersburg tenants.
Correa thinks the city needs more permanent solutions.
“We need secure, permanent affordable housing. Not temporary solutions like this,” Correa said.
The funds come from the city’s economic stability fund.
City council members are also reviewing rental prices and plan to discuss stabilization options further in February.