St. Pete leaders to discuss combatting rising rent with affordable housing options

Residents are now calling on the city to make some changes -- and to make them fast. On Thursday, St. Pete City Council members will be meeting to discuss some ideas that would give residents more options. Residents say those options couldn’t come soon enough.

At Thursday’s meeting, city council members will discuss whether or not they plan to green light a project that would create several new affordable housing units within the city limits. The project would not be cheap, however, costing the city about $750,000 from their economic stability fund.

However, it’s a price tag that residents said might be necessary. In addition to the lack of affordable housing, residents report that their rent has skyrocketed. They have said that the price increases have been especially bad over the past year as many people lost their jobs while facing financial instability due to the pandemic.

Reports show that rent is up nearly a quarter of what it was last year, and residents are concerned that this trend will continue. They’re calling on the city and the new St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch to make some changes.

City council is also asking Mayor Welch to consider fixing the rent issue with things such as rent control or stability options. He said that is something that he wants to look into and discuss further, but in the meantime, he has hired a city staffer to take a more in-depth look at the problem.

If the city council does green-light the proposal for more affordable housing units during Thursday’s meeting, it would pave the way for at least 12 new units. The meeting is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.