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Forward Pinellas adopts compact agreement with county to address affordable housing needs

Veronica Brezina

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The compact will bring the 25 local governments together to find solutions to the lack of affordable housing options in Pinellas County.

The Forward Pinellas Board has adopted the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact that will make creating more affordable and sustainable homes a priority among local governments. 

Forward Pinellas, the land use and transportation planning agency in Pinellas County, approved the compact at its board meeting on Wednesday. It will create a framework to coordinate the efforts of the municipal governments in Pinellas County to address the critical shortage of affordable housing. The compact is part of the Advantage Pinellas plan, which focuses on long-term, countywide needs for transportation, jobs and housing. 

“We know that nearly one in five households in Pinellas County are cost-burdened. This compact is a strategic and integrated approach for Forward Pinellas, the county, and 25 local governments to address inequities and improve the quality of life for all its residents,”  Forward Pinellas Chair and St. Pete mayoral candidate Darden Rice said. 

According to the compact, Forward Pinellas and others will be concentrated on the following goals: 

  • Connect housing and employment
  • Plan for health impacts of housing
  • Focus on social and economic equity
  • Ensure accessibility for all ages and abilities
  • Develop broad support from public and private partners

“Housing affordability is bigger than any one community, and we won’t solve it if we’re each going it alone. It’s essential that we identify common goals and strategies, use the same terminology, and have consistent communication throughout the county,” said Forward Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton.


Related: Pinellas County OKs funding new affordable housing projects, totals $23.4M commitment


The concept of entering into a compact was introduced in 2020, when Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas hosted the Homes for Pinellas Summit, which brought together industry leaders, elected officials, nonprofits and others to hold discussions on the challenges, opportunities and best practices for creating affordable housing options.

After the summit, local government planning experts put their words into action and created the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact, according to Forward Pinellas documents. 

Over the next decade, an estimated $80 million from the Penny for Pinellas fund will be used to spur the development of affordable homes.  


Related: City pushes forward with community benefits plan to require developers to reinvest

Related: Here are St. Pete’s plans for affordable housing for the next year


 

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