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JP Morgan Chase invests $500K into affordable housing resiliency program for Tampa Bay

Experts will look for ways to ensure affordable housing meets climate resiliency standards.

JPMorgan Chase is providing a $500,000 grant to support a new housing program in the Tampa Bay region.

The two year grant program will help fund the Tampa Bay Regional Planning council’s new Resilient and Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing (REACH) program.

The project brings together local experts in housing, resiliency and recovery planning to assess potential risks that could affect communities as a result of extreme weather, sea level rise and identify strategies to mitigate those risks.

The project will also address increasing the region’s affordable, resilient housing stock.

“As we work to increase access to affordable housing for Tampa Bay residents, it is critical that we understand the risks these communities face from natural disasters – especially those in the most vulnerable areas for flooding and storm surge,” said Mel Martinez, Chairman of the Southeast U.S. and Latin America region for JPMorgan Chase. “We are investing in this initiative to help community organizations, local government and housing developers understand these risks and ensure that new development or redevelopment plans reflect consistent resiliency standards.”

The project will include experts from the Florida Housing Coalition, United Way Suncoast, the University of Florida’s Shimberg Center for Housing Studies and the University of South Florida’s Florida Center for Community Research and Design.

“Many local governments are working on vulnerability assessments, however, there is a need to come together and use consistent metrics and methods, and work across city and county lines. With JPMorgan Chase’s investment, we will create new resources for the Tampa Bay Regional Resilience Coalition members to support local planning efforts while creating a vision for integrating affordable housing planning, community redevelopment and resilience planning throughout the region,” said Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council Executive Director Sean Sullivan. “The integrated strategies, depth and scale of this project makes it vital to Tampa Bay region.”

The initiative will integrate affordable housing, neighborhoods and community redevelopment projects with climate vulnerability assessments and resiliency resiliency planning.

Experts will work with local governments and partnering community organizations to develop data and new tools to quantify risks and support decision-making and policy. Strategies include defining risks and metrics for community vulnerabilities as it relates to affordable housing as well as create standards for mapping risk zones.

The project will also coordinate efforts to assess energy consumption and provide training and support to better analyze housing and development policies.


This is JPMorgan Chase’s first major investment pairing resiliency and affordable housing in the Tampa Bay region.

The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council first identified the need last year during a Peril of Flood Project with Manatee county and the University of Florida, which was sponsored by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The project looked at vulnerabilities related to socio-economic status.

“Our previous research has shown that flooding and storms pose a significant risk to Florida’s already scarce affordable housing supply. The time to collect and share information is now, while communities are planning for future hazards. Consistent data and mapping tools will help Tampa Bay communities act quickly to build a resilient housing supply and plans for post-disaster recovery,” said Bill O’Dell, Director of the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies.

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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