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FAST group will urge Pinellas to pledge more money to affordable housing

LARGO — Faith and Action for Strength Together will have its annual gathering at 7 tonight, hoping to press county officials to increase money for affordable housing.

The annual Nehemiah Action expects to attract 3,000 people to First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo. But the notable faces could be county officials overseeing social programs.

County commissioners have been invited, and FAST wants the board to reverse plans to contribute $15 million instead of $30 million to an affordable-housing trust fund. The money was reduced because Penny for Pinellas sales tax money has plummeted.

"When you break promises made to voters, there needs to be some public accountability," said the Rev. Walter Campbell, pastor of Bayview Baptist Church and co-chairman of the Affordable Housing Committee of FAST.

County officials say they have trimmed numerous projects because of budget shortfalls. The group also wants the county, which faces an $80 million deficit over two years, to create a revolving loan fund for small businesses.

FAST pressed the county to continue adding to another housing trust fund last year, but failed. Other invited guests include St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and Sheriff Jim Coats.

FAST group will urge Pinellas to pledge more money to affordable housing 04/18/10 [Last modified: Sunday, April 18, 2010 9:40pm]
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