By Angie Angers, Bay News 9

A large faith-based group that’s been rallying for more affordable housing is set to meet Monday night for the first time since St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch revealed his expanded 10-year housing plan.

Part of the city’s updated plan includes expanding housing programs, providing incentives to developers, and creating and preserving 3,200 more multi-family units.

The plans are all aimed at increasing the amount of housing available to low-income and working-class families.

Last month, more than 1,000 members of Faith and Action for Strength Together (FAST), came together in pushing for more affordable housing options.

Their May 8 meeting will be held at Palm Lake Christian Church and the first one since Welch’s updated plan was released.

FAST has been vocal about its goal for the city, which is to have 5,000 new affordable housing units in the works by the end of the mayor’s first term. Those housing units they want to be for families making less than 80% of the average median income.

Those goals don’t line up exactly with the city’s updated plan.

“We recognize that our city leaders have a plan, we applaud their plan, but we also have to demand more because we recognize that the problem is just so big,” said Oscar Banks, lead pastor at Palm Lake Christian Church and co-chair of FAST.

The St. Pete City Council approved a proposal from the team at Palm Lake Christian Church to put both cottages and a 3-story affordable housing unit on the church property.

Banks says while they’re asking for big changes to be made with affordable housing in the city, they are also doing their part.

“For me it’s personal because I see myself in the eyes of some of these kids,” he said.

The FAST meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

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