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Tampa joins national coalition to drive federal policy on affordable housing, homelessness

“Local initiatives are not enough to address the nationally systemic issues of affordability.”

The city of Tampa joined last week a coalition of national Mayors and CEOs aiming to show that housing and homelessness is an investment, not an expense. 

The group Mayors & CEOS for U.S. Housing is a first of its kind coalition of local government and business leaders compiled to further efforts to establish public-private partnerships in cities that can address affordable housing and homelessness and collectively oppose funding cuts. 

The group includes Mayors and business leaders from Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

“One of my first budget actions is enabling housing that Tampa can afford by focusing on smart growth, affordable housing down payments and assistance, increasing new housing stock and affordable rental opportunities and through new programs to lower housing costs through rehabilitation and energy conservation,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said. “But these local initiatives are not enough to address the nationally systemic issues of affordability and lack of supply. Tampa and all U.S. cities need the federal government as our partner at the core of the U.S. housing system, pledging to invest in housing that residents of Tampa and all American cities can afford. This growing coalition is the right venue for us to push for that change.”

The new group makes the argument housing is a pro-family, pro-jobs, patriotic investment for the federal government. The group references a National Association of Home Builders study showing that innovative investing in and building of 100 affordable rental homes can generate more than $11 million in local income, $2 million in tax and other revenue for local governments and create more than 160 local jobs. That’s all just in the first year. 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition also found that investment bears dividends economically and socially. For every additional year a child spends in a better neighborhood environment, their economic outcome as an adult improves, which extends their benefit to the community.

The group also aims to encourage national dialogue promoting funding for housing projects and entice private sector partners to the table so to increase awareness of how investing in communities provides dividends by creating economic growth, building a stronger workforce and establishing a more fiscally sustainable city. 

The group will also serve as an advocacy arm to influence policy at the federal level and reinforce the federal government’s role as a vital housing and homelessness partner.   

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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