PINELLAS COUNTY, Florida. René Smith has a typical “St. History of Petersburg.
She grew up in St. Petersburg and works full-time in the city, but now she can’t afford to live there.
“My living conditions are hotel accommodation, right,” Smith said. “I live here, I live there, and then I try to move everywhere; it’s too expensive for me”.
Smith says that despite the city’s longstanding focus on affordable housing, St. Petersburg still needs more.
City Councilman Richie Floyd, who represents the 8th District, fully agrees.
“The Tampa Bay area has seen the highest house price inflation in the entire country over the past three years,” Floyd said. “We’re really going to need every possible tool to solve our housing problems.”
On Friday, one of those tools was announced: the Citywide Home Improvement Rebate Program.
A qualified homeowner can receive city funding in the form of a discount to reduce some of the cost of renovating a home:
- Structural repair
- Roof replacement
- Electrical/Plumbing Modernization
- Window/Door Replacement
- HVAC Replacement
- Insulation upgrade
- Kitchen/bath renovation
- Construction of auxiliary living quarters (ADU)
However, the cost of repairs must be $10,000 or more, the household income must be no more than 120% of the median income for the region, and the home must be considered “labor or affordable housing.”
“We did this in South St. Pete for a while, but we wanted to expand it across the city,” Floyd said. “The housing problems we have in this city are all over the city.”
According to a press release from the city of St. Petersburg, the program, officially known as the Affordable Housing Rehabilitation Discount Program, was designed to “help increase the supply and quality of affordable housing in St. Petersburg.”
The program’s website states that approved applicants will receive “40% of the pre-approved construction cost” from the city.
For Floyd, this is no panacea, just one tool in the city’s “affordable housing” toolkit, but he hopes homeowners will use the tool.
“The best thing you could do is ask a council member. Write to our office and we will help you through the process,” he said.
You can also apply to the program or learn more by clicking here.