Sarasota looking into adding an affordable housing fund

Sarasota Affordable Housing crisis

SARASOTA (WWSB) - Finding affordable housing is getting harder. It’s been an issue for people who work in the area for years, because the cost of living on the Suncoast is so high.

"We would like to change that, we would like to have those opportunities,” said James C. Brown, a long time Sarasota resident. He says he has seen how the city has evolved over time. However, the one thing he noticed is how housing prices skyrocketed.

“I can’t quite understand why we’re in a substantial crisis situation,” he said.

That’s why he, along with other community members are trying to get solutions.

"You gotta be part of the community and that means you work in the community that you live in,” he said.

On Monday, Sarasota City Commission unanimously approved to look into starting a housing opportunity fund. The city already has a fund to pay for affordable housing, but the fund will be an addition to what the city uses for developer contributions.

“We found what are the best solutions for this affordable housing crisis. What we found is that over 800 communities are using the affordable housing trust fund,” said 12 Springs Church Pastor Ryan McBride.

He says some members of his congregation are on the verge of losing their homes.

He says they work full time jobs, but can’t make ends meet to afford a home in Sarasota. So he says they’re moving to other nearby communities.

“I know of a gentleman that moved to live in his band to work in Sarasota, then another gentleman moved to palmetto,” he said.

In an email to ABC 7, Sarasota city officials say that they’re working to bring recommendations later this summer.

McBride also says he’s working with city leaders to add a substantial amount to the fund.

“It would have a dedicated annual revenue source. We’re working for five million dollars for the city,” he said.

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