We cannot do this alone – that’s why Pinellas County is building a coalition of municipalities, agencies, developers, and community leaders committed to a common vision. The Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact offers a coordinated approach to increase affordable housing linked to transportation, jobs, schools, workforce development, and other services. Developed by Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas, and staff from the four largest municipalities (St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Largo, and Pinellas Park), the compact outlines a common set of policies to create more housing that’s affordable countywide.
The compact is part of the Advantage Pinellas plan to address long-term, countywide needs for transportation, jobs, and housing.
Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact DRAFT
May 19, 2021
This Compact is made and entered into this day of _____, 2021, by and between the municipalities within Pinellas County, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, and Forward Pinellas (“the Partners”).
WHEREAS, Pinellas County is a vibrant community of nearly one million residents and 25 local governments, with a uniquely diverse array of communities and lifestyle options, and a robust local economy; and
WHEREAS, the continued quality of life and economic health of our community depends on residents being able to afford safe, quality housing with multi-modal transportation to jobs and educational opportunities; and
WHEREAS, residents living in stable, affordable housing are better able to participate in the workforce, obtain an education, meet daily needs, and remain healthy; and
WHEREAS, employers are better able to attract and retain a stable workforce when residents can find quality affordable housing close to their workplaces, avoiding burdensome commutes; and
WHEREAS, housing costs in Pinellas County are rising significantly faster than household incomes; and
WHEREAS, nearly one in five households in Pinellas County is cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of its income on housing; and
WHEREAS, lower-income, minority, and elderly residents are disproportionately likely to live in cost-burdened households; and
WHEREAS, local governments play a critical role in fostering social equity through housing and development policies and strategies; and
WHEREAS, Pinellas County will need an increase of nearly 1,000 affordable housing units per year this decade to keep pace with population growth; and
WHEREAS, addressing the need for affordable housing will require a coordinated strategy of housing construction, rehabilitation, mitigation, preservation, and household assistance; and
WHEREAS, affordable housing production depends on a combination of public, private, nonprofit, and citizen partners; and
WHEREAS, there are 25 local governments in Pinellas County, each with its own affordable housing needs, resources, and policies; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Pinellas County have made a significant commitment to meeting the community’s need for affordable housing by approving the government infrastructure sales surtax in 2019 (Penny for Pinellas IV); and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners has allocated a projected $80 Million of Penny for Pinellas revenue over the next ten years to preserve and develop affordable housing; and
WHEREAS, Pinellas County has shown a significant commitment to providing affordable housing through its dedicated Community Housing Trust Fund and Land Trust Program; and
WHEREAS, there are significant countywide resources dedicated to planning for the coordination of land use, transportation, and economic development; and
WHEREAS, local governments in Pinellas County are collaborating on the economic, environmental, and societal vitality and resiliency of their respective communities, in order to support a thriving local economy and create opportunities to attract new businesses and economic investments; and
WHEREAS, an integrated, cooperative, countywide approach is needed to align and maximize these resources and truly meet the need for housing affordability.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE GOVERNING BODIES OF THE COMPACT PARTNERS THAT:
SECTION 1. The Partners agree to work toward a planning strategy that prioritizes locating affordable housing, jobs, educational opportunities, and workforce development resources along corridors (within ½ mile) planned for high-quality transit service as identified in the Advantage Pinellas Plan.
SECTION 2. The Partners agree to work toward coordinating the development of affordable housing with planning for healthy communities, including access to parks and recreational resources, pedestrian/bicycle facilities, healthy food sources, and medical care providers.
SECTION 3. The Partners agree to work toward addressing racial, social, economic, and geographic inequality in the provision of affordable housing in Pinellas County.
SECTION 4. The Partners agree to work toward planning for greater resiliency, by reducing impacts to current and future housing stock through diverse and localized adaptation and building strategies designed to reduce risks from flooding, major storms, and other natural hazards.
SECTION 5. The Partners agree to work toward the provision of safe, quality housing that is accessible to residents of diverse ages, abilities, and provides both rental and ownership opportunities.
SECTION 6. The Partners agree to work with affordable housing developers, community groups, citizens, and other stakeholders related to the implementation of this Compact.
SECTION 7. The Partners agree to work toward creating an affordable housing action plan to serve as a common, coordinated framework for addressing affordable housing needs, while respecting the autonomy of each local jurisdiction.
SECTION 8. As a component of the action plan, the Partners agree to work toward developing specific goals to meet housing needs and shared terminology and definitions addressing affordable housing.
SECTION 9. The Partners agree to work toward creating a joint communications and outreach program, including developing a website to serve as an information portal for residents, local businesses, developers, non-profit community organizations, and other stakeholders.
SECTION 10. The Partners agree to work toward developing a centralized data repository and performance metrics to identify needs and measure progress toward the action plan.
SECTION 11. The Partners agree to develop a usable regulatory toolkit for local governments, including:
• A menu of regulatory incentives to encourage affordable housing construction, improvements, adaptation, redevelopment and preservation;
• Regulatory strategies for encouraging market-rate housing that is diverse and affordable to a broader range of incomes, including nontraditional options such as accessory dwelling units, “missing middle” housing, tiny homes, and mixed-use buildings; and
• Design standards that promote sustainability and energy efficiency, encourage healthy environments and lifestyles and make it possible to travel safely and conveniently using walking, biking, and transit.
SECTION 12. The Partners agree to this Compact as an expression of their intent and commitment to work together on a countywide level to address the critical need for affordable housing in Pinellas County, but acknowledge that the governing body of each Partner retains authority over local decision-making including, but not limited to, financial and staff resources and land use regulations.
SECTION 13. This Compact shall take effect upon full and proper execution and remain in place for 10 years and until all Partners agree to terminate. Any Partner may individually terminate its participation in the Compact upon 30 days’ written notice to all remaining Partners. The termination by one Partner shall not affect the commitment of the Compact’s remaining Partners.
Learn more about the Compact’s Focus Areas
ADOPTING THE COMPACT
Pinellas County, Forward Pinellas and the four largest municipalities are expected to adopt the compact in 2021 followed by outreach to the remaining municipalities public/non-profit agencies, and other stakeholders.
After the compact is adopted, the partners will create an Affordable Housing Action Plan with specific goals for producing more affordable units that meet the community’s needs in the coming years.
How Your City Can Participate
To learn more about the plans, activities, and benefits of the Compact, local governments and elected officials may contact Evan Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Linda Fisher (email@example.com). Staff from Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas are available to discuss the Compact and give presentations to Councils and Boards who are interested in adopting the compact.
How Business and Community Stakeholders Can Participate
Businesses, universities, health providers, nonprofits, and community groups are invited to get involved. We encourage those with housing expertise, knowledge, and a variety of lived experiences to take part in shaping the Affordable Housing Action Plan.
THE HOUSING COMPACT FOCUS AREAS
Corridor Planning Strategy
Housing affordability is about more than just creating homes with rents or mortgages that people can afford. For many households, transportation is also a major expense that affects housing affordability. The cost to maintain a car, or more than one, can take a serious toll on the amount of money households have to spend on where they live. But in Pinellas County, there just aren’t many alternatives. Without a robust transit system, it’s difficult to get from home to a job – or to school, the grocery store, or a doctor’s appointment – without a car.
It makes sense to build affordable homes, jobs, education, and services close together and link them with transit. The best place to do that is on our major commercial corridors, where we have vacant and underutilized land that can be redeveloped to accommodate new homes and businesses. If we transition to higher-density buildings that are designed to support transit, we can fit more homes and jobs on less land which will help make living in Pinellas County more affordable.
- The Housing and Transportation (H+T®) Affordability Index estimates the cost of housing and transportation for a given community. In Pinellas County, the average household spends 33% of its income on housing, and another 24% on transportation, or a total of 57% spent just on those two items.
- The Advantage Pinellas Long-Range Transportation Plan identifies investment corridors that are most appropriate for enhanced transit.
Planning for Healthy Communities
Healthy homes support good physical and mental health. According to public health studies, a healthy home is one that is affordable, safe, and free from hazards, and located to provide access to a variety of services and resources, such as healthcare providers, grocery stores, parks, jobs, and schools.
- Affordability & Stability – When families and individuals struggle to pay the rent, they may also struggle to eat healthy meals or pay for their medicine or doctors’ appointments. In comparison, providing access to stable, affordable housing can reduce healthcare costs and improve health.
- Quality & Safety – The conditions of the home can have a significant effect on the people living there. Quality and safety issues may include water leaks, pest infestations, lead exposure, exposure to extreme heat or cold, and overcrowding. Overcrowding has long been an important health topic, but COVID-19 sheds a new light on the risks of crowding. Overcrowding is contributing to the spread of COVID-19, and in some cases ravaging whole families. Exposure to other substandard conditions may increase the risk of injuries (e.g., exposed wiring, trip hazards due to broken steps or flooring, etc.) and illness (e.g., increased asthma attacks due to mold, pests, or other allergens).
- Neighborhood – In addition to the conditions of the home, it is important to think about the opportunities and hazards that are present in the surrounding neighborhood. Examples of neighborhood opportunities include jobs, sidewalks, grocery stores, public transportation, and healthcare, while examples of neighborhood hazards may include crime, segregation, high volume/speed roads, and proximity to industrial areas or other toxins/pollutants.
- Health in All Policies (HiAP): HiAP is a collaborative approach to improve the health of all people by incorporating health and equity considerations into decisions made across sectors and policy areas. For more information, see HiAP resources from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Several local governments in Tampa Bay use the “Health in All Policies” approach: City of Pinellas Park, City of St. Petersburg, Hillsborough County, and Pinellas County.
- Plan4HealthyFlorida: a compilation of tools and resources that encourage cross-sector collaboration between planners and public health professionals.
- National Center for Healthy Housing Tools and Data: includes resources, tools, model codes, best practices, data, and case studies regarding healthy housing.
- Healthy Building Resources and Certifications: There are a variety of healthy building design and construction certifications and checklists.
- National Healthy Housing Standard: Provides minimum performance standards for a safe and healthy home. Designed for use by property owners, elected officials, code enforcement, and anyone else concerned with housing and health.
- Explore other checklists and standards.
- Healthy Housing Rewards™ (from Fannie Mae) provides financial incentives for borrowers who incorporate health-promoting design features and practices or resident services in their newly constructed or rehabilitated multifamily affordable rental properties.
- Understand health inequities in your community using the CDC PLACES data set. PLACES provides estimates for chronic disease risk factors, health outcomes, and clinical preventive services use to all counties, places (incorporated and census designated places), census tracts, and ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) across the United States.
Racial & Socioeconomic Equity
Lower-income, minority, and elderly residents are disproportionately likely to live in cost-burdened households, which means that they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. Local governments have an important role to play in advancing racial and socioeconomic equity through housing and development policies and strategies.
The Tampa Bay region is one of the most vulnerable areas in the country, experiencing frequent storms and persistent flooding. Due to our coastal geography and changing climate, the region faces additional threats from sea level rise and frequent severe flooding from heavy rainstorms. Climate change is no longer a possible future, it’s our present reality, and it’s up to us to adapt to the changing world so our communities can continue to thrive.
- The online Countywide Plan Map shows coastal high-hazard areas where higher densities are not allowed without careful planning and mitigation.
- The Pinellas County Sustainability and Resiliency Program is designed to set measurable, achievable goals and steps toward a more sustainable and resilient Pinellas.
- The Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council’s Resilience and Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing (REACH) Initiative is designed to integrate planning for resiliency, neighborhood revitalization, and affordable housing priorities across the Tampa Bay region.
There is no state in the U.S. that has an adequate supply of rental housing that is affordable and available to households with extremely low income, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Florida is one of the states where extremely low-income renters face the greatest challenge in finding affordable homes, with only 28 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households (National Low Income Housing Coalition. (2021). The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes. Washington, DC.). The issue of affordable housing cuts across Pinellas County communities and affects all Pinellas County residents; therefore, we need a collaborative approach.
- Other communities around the country have formed partnerships to address affordable housing. Examples of these partnerships include:
- Housing Metro Boston: The Metropolitan Mayors Coalition launched a Regional Housing Taskforce to create goals and strategies for regional housing production in the 15 participating communities.
- Miami-Dade Affordable Housing Framework: The Framework establishes a shared goal of producing or preserving affordable homes for 210,000 households by 2030 by 1) identifying shared priorities; 2) prioritizing a development pipeline; and 3) changing the policies and financing environment that facilitate that pipeline.
- Committee to House the Bay Area (CASA) Compact: A 15-year emergency policy package to confront the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area, led by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in partnership with local governments, private companies and major employers (i.e. Facebook), developers, non-profit housing providers, etc.
The Housing Compact partners will begin work on an action plan in 2022.
The Housing Compact partnership will begin work on a regulatory toolkit in 2022. The toolkit will provide a menu of options that can be used to increase the availability of affordable housing in Pinellas County.
- Forward Pinellas, July 2021
- Pinellas County, Feb 2022
- City of Clearwater, July 2021
- City of Largo, August 2021
- City of Pinellas Park, November 2021
- City of St. Petersburg, August 2021
- Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council
- Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg