Pinellas County and partners have added thousands of new affordable homes to the local community in recent years using a portion of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax combined with other local, state, federal and private dollars. Over the next decade, an estimated $80 million from the Penny will be invested to spur development of as many affordable homes as possible by combining these dollars with other private and public funds.
As of Summer 2021, the County has committed $23.4 million toward 1,197 units that include 884 affordable homes.
A countywide approach
We cannot do this alone – that’s why Pinellas County is building a coalition of municipalities, agencies, developers and community leaders committed to a common vision. The Advantage Pinellas Countywide Housing Compact offers a coordinated approach to increase affordable housing linked to transportation, jobs, schools, workforce development, and other services. Learn more.
Penny for Pinellas Affordable Housing Program
This $80-million fund dedicated to expanding affordable housing over the next decade is available to support qualified development and rehabilitation projects. The program uses revenue from the voter approved 1-percent sales tax along with other public and private investment to preserve and develop more affordable housing. The County is looking for a variety of applicants, including developers who specialize in affordable housing and those who traditionally build market-rate developments as well as municipal and nonprofit partners.Learn More & Apply Online
What types of housing development does the County support?
Subsidized developments where all homes are set aside for people at the lowest income levels (80% of Area Median Income or less); developers only propose a few projects like this each year because they require substantial state/federal subsidies, which are limited.
Market-driven developments where the County invests public dollars in a traditional housing development to keep a portion of units affordable (60-120% of AMI); these “mixed income” projects are more common since they are funded mostly by private dollars. This approach helps us get more families housed faster.
Why doesn’t the County only fund 100% affordable projects? Two examples:
|Skyway Lofts (Subsidized: 100% Affordable)||New Northeast (Market-Driven: Mixed-Income)|
|Homes gained: 65 units all under 80% AMI||Homes gained: 415 total units; 59 set aside under 80% AMI; 66 under 120% AMI|
|Total development cost: $16.46M||Total development cost: $97M|
|Financial backing: $13.1M subsidized by federal housing tax credits equity; $90K City of St. Petersburg grant||Financial backing: $92M private investment; $1M City of St. Petersburg assistance|
|Penny funds: $700K, or 4.25% of project cost||Penny investment: $4M, or 4.12% of project cost|
|Cost per affordable unit: $10,769||Cost per affordable unit: $32,358|
|Total public investment: 85%||Total public investment: 5.1%|
In the first example, the County is only subsidizing 4.25% of a project costing $16M+ – that comes out to $700K, or around $11K per unit, but that’s because $13M is covered by the federal government If the County provided the whole subsidy, we would invest nearly $14M for 65 units, which comes out to around $215K per unit! In the long run, mixed-income = more families housed in affordable units.
How much can Pinellas residents afford to spend on housing?
The Area Median Income, the midpoint for income in our county, is $49,250 for a single person, which comes out to around $4,100 per month. Those who pay more than 30% of their monthly income on housing struggle to pay for other necessities.
Virtual Housing Summit
Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas hosted a series of five webinars from October 9 to December 11, 2020, on how to create, improve and sustain homes that are affordable to our residents.
Developing homes in Pinellas County
Located on a 280 square-mile peninsula, Pinellas offers a diverse array of cities, towns, and neighborhoods, replete with small and large downtowns, historic main streets, traditional neighborhoods and beach towns. As Florida’s most densely-developed county, successful housing projects aim to redevelop land into new mixed-use, multifamily homes, restore aging single-family houses or find creative ways to reuse existing space.
Attracted by the mild, sub-tropical climate and miles of white sand beaches, 946,848 people have made Pinellas County their home. With an average 360 days of sunshine each year and beaches ranked among the best in the U.S., the county is also the most popular tourist destination on the Gulf of Mexico, drawing nearly six million tourists annually. As an established county, the significant infrastructure – including schools, utilities and roadways – is already in place. Pinellas is also well connected with regional access provided via Interstate-275, two international airports, and the largest port in Florida.
Pinellas County dedicated 8.3 percent of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax renewed by voters from 2020-2030 to affordable housing land acquisition and economic development capital projects, based on broad public input. The renewed Penny builds on years of progress in expanding housing options in the community.
In the past 10 years, the County has supported development and preservation of more than 2,900 affordable housing units through a combination of local, state and federal partnerships.