Pinellas County has seen a dramatic rise in local home prices in recent years. How do we ensure our current residents can continue to afford to live here, while allowing new arrivals the opportunity to live and work in Pinellas?

To tackle that question, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas brought together community leaders and subject matter experts in a series of five webinars in the fall of 2020. The recordings of these webinars are available below and on the County’s YouTube channel.

Homes for Pinellas Graphic


  • Current state of countywide housing supply and demand.
  • Assessing the challenges and opportunities for providing affordable homes.
  • Best practices and innovative financing solutions used by developers and local governments from around the state and country.
  • Coordinated planning for homes, employment and transportation.
  • Local government coordination to improve the affordability and diversity of housing options.
  • Opportunities to partner and collaborate.

Session 1: The Importance of Housing to a Healthy Community

Oct. 9, 2020 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

The first of the five-session Summit focuses on the importance of housing to our community’s health and economic success.

The Keynote speaker, Dr. Tiffany Manuel, is the President and CEO of TheCaseMade, an organization dedicated to helping leaders powerfully and intentionally make a case for systems change. Manuel discusses building better, stronger communities that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive by aligning community stakeholders around the kind of deep systems changes that can improve the quality of life. Pinellas County staff and Forward Pinellas also discuss today’s housing challenges and advantages in Pinellas County.

Keynote Speaker Information: Dr. Tiffany Manuel
President & Chief Executive Officer @TheCaseMade &
Linked In:
Twitter: @DrTiffanyManuel

Session 2: The Development Opportunity

Oct. 23, 2020 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Panelists involved in developing and financing homes discuss the unique development challenges they must address to successfully build housing that meets the needs of residents with low to middle incomes.


Session 3: Local Government Innovation

Nov. 6, 2020 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Panelists discussed best practices, including affordable housing policy, regulatory relief and other incentives to help create homes that people can afford.


  • Catherine Hartley, AICP, CNU, Director of Community Planning at Tindale Oliver
    For the past 16 years, Catherine has worked for both the public and private sectors, focusing on the integration of transportation, land use, and site planning. She has a unique combination of experience in different size governments and in the private sector. She has earned recognition and awards from the American Planning Association, the Florida Planning and Zoning Association, and several other organizations. She specializes in context-sensitive infill development and missing-middle housing.
  • Rick Perez, Planning Manager, City of Largo
    Rick is a certified planner with the American Institute of Certified Planners and a certified Redevelopment Professional with the Florida Redevelopment Association with 17 years of experience in community development and urban planning.
  • Geri Lopez, CEcD, Director of Redevelopment and Economic Opportunity at Manatee County Government
    Geri is a Certified Economic Developer with over 20 years of experience spanning the redevelopment, economic development, and affordable housing markets in the public, private, and non-profit sectors. Before joining Manatee County, Geri was the director of economic development for Clearwater. She has also worked as a housing consultant, assisting housing authorities in Memphis, Boston, and Houston.

Session 4: Corridor Planning Strategy – Homes, Jobs and Transit

Nov. 20, 2020 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

Local transportation and planning experts discuss the importance of coordinating housing with transportation, safe streets, jobs and workforce development. Host Rodney Chatman, Planning Division Manager at Forward Pinellas, discusses efforts already underway in the region with guests Whit Blanton, executive director of Forward Pinellas; Elizabeth Abernethy, director of the Planning and Development Services Department for the City of St. Petersburg; and Stephen Benson, chief planner for the City of Tampa.

Session 5: Elements of the Countywide Housing Strategy

Dec. 11, 2020 11:30 a.m. – 1:00p.m.

In the final webinar in the Homes for Pinellas series, Deputy County Administrator Jill Silverboard hosts a discussion of the countywide housing strategy and the idea of a housing compact as the next step to creating more homes that people can afford. Jill is joined by Barry A. Burton, Pinellas County Administrator; Jamie Ross, President and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition; Evan Johnson, Interim Planning Division Manager for Pinellas County Housing and Community Development; CJ Reynolds, Director of Resiliency and Engagement for the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council; Ben Toro-Spears, Chief Strategy Officer for the Florida Housing Coalition; and Julie Rocco, Senior Community Engagement Advocate for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.