WaveMakers: Nathan Hagen on the housing crisis

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With the Tampa Bay region facing the highest rent increases in the nation at a rate of 24%, the housing crisis has grown dire. In response, six months ago Nathan Hagen launched YIMBY Tampa, a local chapter of a national movement, to press for change, both short-term and long-term.

Among other things, YIMBY Tampa, the acronym for Yes, In My Backyard, is calling for rent stabilization in the short-term, as well as long-term investments and policy changes such as ending zoning laws that favor large single-family homes and promoting more multi-family development, and improving transportation.

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Although the St. Petersburg City Council recently rejected rent stabilization, Hagen said he’s hoping for a better outcome on Thursday, Feb. 24 when the Tampa City Council holds a workshop on the housing crisis.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do right now that is too far in terms of demonstrating that we are in an emergency,” Hagen told WMNF. “Our neighbors are being displaced, people are being economically harmed. People are struggling right now.”

The definition of “affordable” means different things to different groups, but Hagen advocates for them all. Whether it’s the workforce housing that fits blue-collar workers, or subsidized housing for those in poverty, Hagen said YIMBY wants them all. The organization is about housing everyone, because housing is a human right, Hagen said.

“I want to see what levers we have to pull today to build more housing tomorrow,” he said.