New initiative hopes to bring more affordable housing

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The Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative launched a new program, aimed at encouraging landlords to take on more affordable housing tenants. Home for the Holidays is a six month campaign to partner to bring on landlords and property managers with vacant apartments. The hope is to fast track affordable long-term housing for families and individuals without housing. Antoinette Hayes-Triplett, CEO with the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, says they’ve created incentives for rapid rehousing.

“We want to let landlords that have available units know that we have financial incentives to assist them,” Hayes-Triplett says, “as they work with getting people that are experiencing homelessness into housing.”

Rents rose over 30 percent

Tampa Bay experienced one of the highest rents hikes in the country. In the last year, there have been increases of over 30 percent in some areas. Hayes-Triplett says those price hikes precede COVID-19, but have only gotten worse.

“The housing crisis in Tampa and Hillsborough County is among the highest rent increases across the country,” Hayes-Triplett says. “We’re hoping that our solution, home for the holidays, will  be able to help, not only with people that are seeking housing, but the people that are providing the housing as well.”

HUD funds the bulk of the program. Some with HUD vouchers have reported difficulties in finding landlords and properties willing to take them on. New incentives may include signing bonuses, risk mitigation funds, and a five-month security deposit. Hayes-Triplett says addressing concerns for both parties is the goal.

Affordable housing is the goal

“This will allow landlords to take a chance on people that may have some type of blemishes on the record,” Hayes-Triplett says, “but also make sure the tenants feel safe during this pandemic as well. So we hope what we’ve built is a win-win situation.”

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