Tampa council approves budget with as much as $46M for housing assistance

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Tampa city council members on Tuesday approved a revised budget for fiscal year 2023 that would likely set aside about $46 million in housing assistance.

This is almost double the amount it was initially Suggestion by Mayor Jane Castor.

In August, the administration set aside about $26 million in housing assistance — a combination of mostly federal dollars and $4 million from the general fund.

During the first budget hearing, on September 6, council members asked officials to seek a $1.9 billion budget for additional revenue. Tenants and housing advocates said the initial amount was insufficient compared to the urgent need for relief.

At the time, activist Connie Burton called the proposed amount to combat the housing emergency an “insult.” Joseph Nohava, with the Tampa Bay Community Action Committee, called the original budget proposal an “anti-people budget” and Appeal to council members To do more than was suggested.

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Budget Hearing Laura Rodriguez Tampa City Hall

Gabriella Bol

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Public media at WUSF

Community Action Committee member Laura Rodriguez addresses City Council at its second budget hearing in Tampa. She described the administration’s efforts as “laughable” and called for a larger portion of public funds to be devoted to curtailing the affordable housing crisis.

Since then, officials have identified about $20 million in additional funding to help.

Outside of regular grants and general funds, three pots of money have been confirmed by Development and Economic Opportunity Director Nicole Travis to contribute to housing assistance next year: about $3.5 million in rental assistance dollars remaining from fiscal year 2022, $5.5 million in U.S. bailout funds It will be reallocated from the Solid Waste Division and another $10 million from Community Redevelopment Agency funds.

During the second public hearing, Chief Financial Officer Denis Ruggiero presented the revised budget before Board members voted 6-1 to approve it. Councilman Bill Carlson voted against the measure.

“We think this is a very, very big deal at the moment,” said Ruggiero. “It will only increase.”

Funds for reallocation of solid waste and CRA funds will not be immediately available and will require future action by the Board.

Councilman Lynn Hurtack — who originally said she would not support a budget of less than $50 million for housing — voted in favor of the budget on Tuesday.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong with being creative in trying to find more funding,” she said.

Gabriella Ball covers the stories of people living with a paycheck to pay a check in the Greater Tampa Bay area for WUSF. It’s also a report by a member of the Legion of America. Here’s how you can share your story with her.

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