By Jada Williams, WFTS

For so many, affording rent continues to be a primary concern.

Wednesday night, dozens joined local faith based organization FAST- short for Faith and Action for Strength Together- to ask for more help for the lowest income people in St. Pete.

“My daughter and I ended up having to move last summer,” Phyllis Young, a member of FAST, said.

Like so many others, she found herself priced out of St. Pete; the city she’s always called home.

“That would have been $300 in a two year period, that the rent went up and that’s unaffordable for me. And I would just love to have the opportunity to look for a place to live and not have to spend half my income on rent,” she said.

In the pouring rain, she and others stood outside of St. Pete Cathedral to call on St. Pete’s Mayor Ken Welch, and ask for a meeting to discuss housing.

“The Mayor has not agreed to meet with us. And our demand is to ask for 5,000 units, new units of housing affordable,” she said.

Affordability is based off of AMI’s; short for area median income.

The most recent break down for St. Pete puts a 120% AMI at $73,080. 80% AMI is $48,650.

“A lot of times with the Mayor’s plan, and in St. Petersburg, we see workforce housing. Workforce housing are for those making 120% of the area income, and we’re trying to really hone in on those who are really struggling, those are making 80% or below area median income, that’s affordable housing,” Father Curtis Carro, FAST Co-Chair.

Father Curtis Carro feels the city’s current plan doesn’t address enough people struggling to keep a St. Pete roof over their heads.

The city’s 10-year Housing Opportunities for All Plan strives to create and preserve 3,200 multi-family homes by 2030.

The city tells me they’re already 67% of the way that goal. That’s 2,146 units in process or completed.

We reached out to the Mayor about FAST’s demands.

Here’s the full statement we received from the city:

“The City of St. Petersburg’s overall goals continue to align with FAST’s mission to protect, uplift, and educate families, especially in the critical area of affordable housing. At our 2024 State of the Economy, we shared a key update about the city’s comprehensive 10-year Housing Opportunities for All Plan: we have met 67% of our goal to create and preserve 3,200 multi-family homes by 2030. This percentage reflects the total number of units—2,146—that are in process, funded, permit-approved, under construction, preserved, or completed. Reaching or exceeding 100% of this goal can only occur through the strong public-private partnerships that the city enjoys with multiple community stakeholders, businesses, and organizations. We look forward to continuing our work together for the benefit of our families and communities in St. Pete.”

FAST is hosting a large event April 30th. They hope to see the Mayor there.

View the original story here.