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Tampa Mayor Jane Castor on affordable housing: ‘We have to act now'

The mayor said the city will pursue all options to give people who work in Tampa the chance to live there, too.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces plans to increase affordable housing at a news conference Wednesday. [CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Times]
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces plans to increase affordable housing at a news conference Wednesday. [CHARLIE FRAGO | Times]
Published Feb. 12
Updated Feb. 12

TAMPA — Standing in a West Tampa parking lot, Mayor Jane Castor pledged Wednesday to increase affordable housing stock in the city by 2027 to keep the state’s third-largest city from suffering the fate of real-estate hothouses like San Francisco and Boston.

In announcing the recommendations of an advisory housing task force, the mayor noted that less than 5 percent of the housing built last year in Tampa met the criteria for affordability.

There is no easy answer to the problem, she acknowledged. But she vowed to partner with Hillsborough County and state and federal government to find solutions.

“Nothing is off the table," Castor said.

To that end, the mayor announced the city would put the 18-acre parcel where she stood out to bid for affordable housing after hearing from residents near the massive West River development, which is slated to replace hundreds of public housing apartments vacated and demolished in recent years.

She said the city would build 20 percent more affordable housing units each year by 2027 along with rehabbing and preserving 100 existing homes annually.

The cost of those goals is still a moving target, she said. And city officials didn’t immediately have specific figures on how many units per year will be built.

“We’re looking at everything. We’re looking at single family homes, small developments that have five to ten units, all the way up to multi-story apartment and condominium complexes. And then even the tiny homes, the container homes. There is nothing we are are not going to explore."

Castor said she’ll be working with the county, non-profits, the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and the private sector to gather data and proceed aggressively.

“We cannot do this alone,” she said.

She also asked City Council members to work with her “even if it’s not popular.” Council members Guido Maniscalco, Orlando Gudes, John Dingfelder and Joseph Citro stood behind her as she spoke.

Other task force recommendations included creating a community land trust to streamline the process of converting city-owned and vacant properties into affordable housing. And the city will revamp land development codes to make it easier to build less expensive housing as well, she said.

Ernest Coney Jr., the chief executive of CDC of Tampa Inc., a local nonprofit builder, said he was encouraged by Castor’s vision and her promise to cast a wide net for solutions.

“It’s really important that we all focus on a common goal,” he said.


  1. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tampa Mayor Jane Castor answer questions during a meeting of the Tampa Tiger Bay Club Friday.
  2. Jurors on Friday said they could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case against Michael Keetley, an ice cream man accused of murder. Keetley, right, smirked as the judge instructed the jury to try again to reach a verdict.
  3. Marisol Lopez, 42, sent in an application for a green card when she learned about new federal restrictions on public benefits for many immigrants.
  4. A section of the Robles Park Village public housing complex was built on top the forgotten Zion Cemetery.
  5. Tampa City Council chairman Luis Viera said Mayor Jane Castor's decision to add a second ambulance to Station 13 in North Tampa will improve emergency services for his constituents.
  6. A rendering of the new Ulta created by Hennon Group Architects and included in the permits for the building filed with the City of Tampa.
  7. New Orleans-based Dat Dog offers exotic sausages like alligator, duck and crawfish, along with multiple vegan options and more than 30 toppings. The chain is seeking franchisees to bring a location to Tampa Bay.
  8. James S. Moody III was appointed in January as a Hillsborough County Judge. He is the son of federal judge James S. Moody Jr. and the brother of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody. [Photo courtesy of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court]
  9. Michael Keetley is brought into the courtroom during his murder trial Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020 in Tampa. Keetley is the former ice cream truck driver who is accused of shooting a group of men in 2010.
  10. The Oaks Estate, a mansion owned by Lazydays RV co-founder Donald Wallace and his wife Erika. The property is a French-Normandy country-style gated manor build on Lake Thonotosassa listed on the market with an asking price of $17.5 million. It includes a main house, 2-story guest house, garage for up to 20 cars, workshop, pool house, gatehouse, horse barn with grazing pasture, indoor and outdoor pools, 2-story boat house, go-cart track, bowling alley and jogging trail pictured on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 in Thonotosassa.
  11. Karen Hamilton (center) is pictured going over information with her students (L-R) Madison Bowers, 17, Ashley Boarders, 18, and Bobby Campamor, 15 after competition. Hamilton runs the 4H program at Riverview High School and for 18 years has run the Sassy Cows for Savvy Kids program, a program to help developmentally disabled students compete at the state fair.
  12. A fire engulfed a Tampa home at 1011 E 23rd Ave. on Wednesday, according to Tampa Fire Rescue.