• Connie Bruce

Exactly what does "affordable housing" mean?

Updated: Apr 21

Developers have been coming to our city not only to build new apartments but also to ask our council to increase their density allowances from 15.9 units per acre to up to 24 per acre with the promise that a certain percentage be held aside as "affordable" housing. This is an enticement to our elected officials but I am a numbers gal (via my planning and budgeting background) and I like to define exactly what this means. Area Mean Income as calculated by HUD is $66,900 for a family of four in Pinellas. This means at 100% AMI, a developer can charge 1,653 a month for an apartment. At 80% AMI, they can charge $1334, and at 50% (considered low income) they can charge $836. So the next time a developer stands before council and says they want us to increase density to 24 per acre and they will give us a small (20% or less) number of apartments as "affordable", we need to ask, "does that mean affordable at 50% AMI"? which is a number I call the max you should charge as affordable for a 2BR apartment for a low income family of 4. Force them to DEFINE A SOLID NUMBER ! When I recently asked a developer to define affordable he told me those numbers are on file with the housing authority and he did not give me an answer. See my chart below for AMI calculations and what that means for an hourly wage and a monthly rent figure.


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