PINELLAS COUNTY, FL —The Forward Pinellas Board adopted the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact at its board meeting on July 14, 2021, committing to creating and sustaining more homes that are affordable throughout Pinellas County. Led by a partnership between Forward Pinellas and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, the Compact is an agreement among local governments across the county to work together to address the critical shortage of affordable housing in the county and improve the lives of our current and future residents. The compact is part of the Advantage Pinellas plan to address long-term, countywide needs for transportation, jobs and housing.
“Every day I am honored to be the Chair of Forward Pinellas, but I am especially proud today as we approve the Countywide Housing Compact. Forward Pinellas’s partnership in this visionary compact confirms my long-held belief that a community’s goal for social equity and economic prosperity is closely tethered to its housing and development policies,” said Forward Pinellas Chair Darden Rice. “We know that nearly one in five households in Pinellas County are cost-burdened. This compact is a strategic and integrated approach for Forward Pinellas, the County, and its 25 local governments to address inequities and improve the quality of life for all its residents.”
“Housing affordability is bigger than any one community, and we won’t solve it if we’re each going it alone. It’s essential that we identify common goals and strategies, use the same terminology, and have consistent communication throughout the county,” said Forward Pinellas Executive Director Whit Blanton.
By adopting the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact, Forward Pinellas is committing to the following goals through all its long-term countywide land use and transportation planning decisions:
- Connect housing and employment
- Plan for health impacts of housing
- Focus on social and economic equity
- Ensure accessibility for all ages and abilities
- Develop broad support from public and private partners
In 2020, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas hosted the Homes for Pinellas Summit, which brought together industry leaders, elected officials, policymakers, planners, businesses, nonprofits and residents for a series of discussions on the challenges, opportunities and best practices for creating housing options that are affordable to everyone. After the summit, local government planning experts put their words into action and created the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact, with the ultimate goal for all local governments in the county to adopt the compact and work together to advance housing affordability solutions.
This effort comes at a time when public support for addressing the housing affordability crisis is at an all time high. In 2019, Pinellas County voters approved a renewal of the 1-cent Penny for Pinellas infrastructure sales tax, including a projected $80 million investment to preserve and develop more affordable housing. The vote signaled that residents support a long-term commitment of public funds to preserve and build homes that are attainable to all residents. By creating a framework to coordinate the efforts of all 25 local governments in Pinellas County, the Advantage Pinellas Housing Compact will ensure that these and other financial resources are used as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Program information can be found at: www.HomesForPinellas.org.