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Inside CHAF’s new affordable housing units in South St. Pete

Veronica Brezina

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The CHAF-built unit at 1863 13th St. S. Veronica Brezina.

A  home with a cottage-like front porch surrounded by green vegetation grasps the attention of drivers and pedestrians in a South St. Pete neighborhood – but it’s not a single home, it’s two residential units and it’s the latest affordable housing project to open its doors. 

The 1,700-square-foot residential structure is a project the City of St. Petersburg and the Contemporary Housing Alternatives of Florida Inc. (CHAF) organization has worked on to provide affordable housing for low and moderate-income households. 

The CHAF team cut the ceremonial red ribbon to celebrate the completion of the units. 

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman, the CHAF members, St. Petersburg Area Chamber Of Commerce members, St. Pete City Councilwoman Deborah Figgs-Sanders and others set foot inside the completed residential units Monday morning, admiring the curb appeal and interior finishes. 

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman and others set foot inside one of the units. 

The main unit (at 1863 13th St. S.) facing the street is a three-bedroom, 1,000-square-foot home. It is decked out with laminate flooring, impact windows and new appliances. It stands out like a new kid on the block in a known poverty-stricken neighborhood.

“It looks like a single-family home, but you go to the back and there’s an entrance to another side,” Kriseman noted, explaining how the residential project is actually two units sharing one roof. “Giving two families on one lot an opportunity and place that’s affordable is life-changing.” 

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman tours the new units. 

The second unit is 700 square feet and has a completely different address. 

“This is my street, my neighbors…,” Figgs-Sanders said, also echoing Kriseman’s comments on how it appears as if it is one single-family home. 

The entrance to the connected second unit, which has a different address, can be found at the back of the structure.

It cost roughly $240,000 to build the two new units on the single lot. 

The city provided $20,000 to offset the costs of land acquisition, infrastructure, utility and road improvements, permitting fees, impact fees and other development costs associated with the construction of the units, according to a city spokesperson. 

The construction process started in January and was slightly delayed due to Covid. 

CHAF has four other vacant lots within a few miles of where the new units are. CHAF purchased the five lots for roughly $25,000 each before the pandemic ignited.   

The housing structure has impact windows and landscaping outside. 

“This is the first time in several years that we’ve started to expand and saw a need for affordable housing in South St. Pete. We were lucky to come across the lots …,” CHAF Senior Vice President Tracy Mater said. 

The other units have variations in the design and floorplans. 

The monthly rates for the units have not yet been priced. However, the limit per the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, said Mater, is around $1,250. The group said they will have the pricing for the units soon. 

The lot housing the two units. .

The organization also purchased a tiny home from St. Petersburg High School. 

Over nearly three decades, CHAF has grown to both own and manage more than 700 units, and continues to expand into new real estate projects. Its properties span across various phases of development – including rehabilitation and new construction, according to the company’s website. 

Its St. Pete properties include 31st Street Landings, Ashley Place Apartments, Magnolia Court, Northside Villas and others. 

CHAF members said there is a waiting list of 45 people interested in occupying the new units as they come online. 

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Beth

    September 20, 2021at6:39 pm

    Very great idea need many more like this

  2. Avatar

    Davan Griffin

    September 21, 2021at9:17 am

    How do i apply for this program much in need.

  3. Avatar

    Breanna Morgan

    September 21, 2021at9:31 am

    I need help I’m a single mother that’s about to be homeless please help us

  4. Avatar

    David Lee

    September 21, 2021at11:34 am

    Nice to see CHAF upping their game with a creative permanent affordable housing solution. Great example of what’s possible when neighborhood compatibility is a part of the picture. All done with limited taxpayer subsidy. Hard to argue with that.

    Great Job.

  5. Avatar

    Carleen Williams

    September 21, 2021at12:23 pm

    I am a Single mom Disable cant find nothing but they gave me section8 need help finding

  6. Avatar

    Jovan Chambers

    September 21, 2021at12:25 pm

    How do I apply for something like that huh

  7. Avatar

    Lori lee

    September 21, 2021at12:43 pm

    Amazing idea. I am one that could use help. I am 60 and never ownwd my own home due too cancer twice and lots of medical issues. I’ve worked so hard all my life. On disability now and trying too work sick. But I am a tough girl. I hope these homes bring great happiness too people. Thanks so much.

  8. Avatar

    Cliff Santee

    September 21, 2021at5:19 pm

    I think one idea might be using large church buildings. Just think of the apartments that could fit! Churches are having a rough time because of low attendance . These big buildings cost a lot to maintain, so maybe the churches could donate the buildings or sell them to the the city and remodel them. Churches have smaller buildings they could use for church activities. I am a Christian person, and in no way want to desecrate any religion or beliefs. This just seems like a great opportunity to provide many apartments for low income people. This is a really tough time for everyone. What a joyful thing to be able to help the community plus low income families. Sorry for the novel.

  9. Avatar

    Lautausha L Little

    September 21, 2021at6:56 pm

    Load of crap. I’ve been trying to move for the longest. And finally got a voucher. Chap property everywhere but none was available. There name every freaking where. I got depressed Cause I thought I was moving forward.

  10. Avatar

    Mavis R. Gilbert

    September 22, 2021at5:34 am

    Great idea for multigenerational families however the idea of sharing a house with a strange family would make me uneasy. I could imagine moving into the front and moving my mother into the back.

  11. Avatar

    Paula Meng

    September 22, 2021at8:58 am

    Jennifer hit the nail on the head. We’ve allowed way too many builders in St Petersburg we have an overflow of traffic that cannot be controlled. Too many apartments in too little spaces. Check out gandy area and US 19. It is ridiculous. I often wonder if they’re going to start building in the medians here. How about making actual affordable houses? Or just charge normal fees, not half a million for a home.

  12. Avatar

    m

    September 22, 2021at9:39 am

    stop stealing from taxpayers. if you built this a across the street from me i would be livid.

  13. Avatar

    Karen Kirkpatrick

    September 22, 2021at10:32 am

    Yet again, nothing for single people.

  14. Avatar

    Tanisha Ford

    September 22, 2021at10:59 am

    They’ve had a for rent sign out for months only to tell applicants the place isn’t ready yet or to be placed on a wait list & they’re at their max accepting HCV recipients. I’m assuming even if your first you will be turn away; not placed on the wait list or told to call back in 2weeks.

  15. Avatar

    Linda Catherine Jouhfi

    September 22, 2021at3:53 pm

    I need place to live Cant afford high rent fuxed income Had to leave senior building Rent under $850 Plz contact me Desperate and feeling down

  16. Avatar

    Jeffrey Frank

    September 23, 2021at3:43 pm

    Very nice housing and much needed but not the best investment for the city. How about a rent to own model that simular to rent to own.built and maintained by black businesses. A model that builds wealth and fights poverty.

  17. Avatar

    Erik

    September 23, 2021at6:08 pm

    Mayor Kriseman wanted to gentrify the area and when that didn’t seem like that was going to happen.. they built these so called affordable homes to put two families in the same dwelling to live in.. pffft… The city couldn’t build somewhat smaller affordable homes for 1 family or single person that needs a place to live ?

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