Nikki Fried talks affordable housing at Tallahassee campaign stop
Nikki Fried says the rent is too damn high.

Fried said she would declare a housing state of emergency, expand property tax exemption if elected.

Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried held a press conference Wednesday outside a controversial Tallahassee mobile home park to discuss affordable housing in the state.

The property, renamed Florida Sun Estates by when it was purchased by new owners, was the third stop in Fried’s “Lower costs, Higher standards” tour. The owners of Sun Estates were criticized by state and local elected officials earlier this year after they doubled rent and enacted controversial policy changes in 2021. The conference comes as rent prices are skyrocketing in Florida and nationwide.

Before Fried began her statement, a security guard for the property demanded she and all others in attendance stay on the sidewalk and off the property, pushing the assembled crowd as close as three feet from cars zooming by. Fried was flanked at the podium by former residents of the property and Tallahassee City Commissioner Jack Porter, who has supported residents through her office.

Fried said the decision to raise rent on the residents was disgraceful.

“In the middle of a pandemic fees were doubled, leaving people — grandparents, fathers, mothers, children — left with nowhere to go,” Fried said.

After her opening remarks, Fried gave the floor to former Estates resident and mother of five Chanice Jackson. She said during the pandemic, the new owners demanded residents purchase their mobile homes, while increasing the monthly rent to $895.

“It’s disturbing and it’s heartbreaking,” Jackson said. “It’s so sad that there’s so many laws to protect people like the ones who came and took over this community, but not to protect the families like mine who had no sorts of moving, no idea that our world was about to be turned upside down.”

Former Florida Sun Estates resident Chanice Jackson speaks about her family’s experience with the property during a Nikki Fried press conference on April 13, 2022.

After returning to the microphone, Fried said skyrocketing rent is a statewide problem, citing a January article from the Palm Beach Post. She said she would declare a housing state of emergency if elected, and direct the Attorney General to target predatory landlords who increase rent beyond 10% annually.

“You can believe that people running The Meadows (the mobile home park’s original name) would be on that list,” Fried said. “Florida renters are being taken advantage of.”

Fried said she would expand the exemption on home property taxes from $50,000 to $100,000. She also said she would stop diverting money from the Sadowski funds — which are meant to build affordable housing — for other projects. The Legislature has diverted over $2.3 billion from the fund over the past two decades.

“Can you imagine how many homes that we could have produced over the last 20 years with that type of money?” Fried said. “We need a Governor who is working every single day to lower our cost of living and raise our standards of living. And that’s exactly what I’m about to do.”

When asked about Gov. Ron DeSantis tying rising rents to national inflation, Fried pushed back on his position and said he is trying to shift the burden as he has done nothing to address the problem.

“Inflation is 8.5%. We are seeing increases of rent at 35%, 50%, 60% in places of our state. That is not inflation. That is price gouging,” Fried said. “He (DeSantis) has been derelict in his responsibilities of taking care of the people that are actually living here in our state and working here in our state.”

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood

One comment

  • David T. Hawkins

    April 13, 2022 at 8:37 pm

    Again I ask, WHAT is considered “Affordable Housing”?

Comments are closed.


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