ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — State and local leaders held a news conference Tuesday morning to talk about potential solutions to the rental housing crisis in Central Florida.
Florida Sens. Randolph Bracy and Linda Stewart and state Rep. Darren Soto met in Orlando to discuss ways to help area residents struggling to pay rising rents.
Among their ideas, Bracy introduced a plan for tackling the problem.
Bracy said his three-point proposal includes:
- Incentivizing alternative types of community housing with better affordability - To include buildings with smaller units, expanding existing buildings by building up instead of out and repurposing empty commercial buildings into affordable housing, which, which the city has started to do.
- Creating tax breaks grants - And other programs for developers who are willing to earmark a portion of their units as affordable housing based on their area median income.
- Instituting special taxes - On out-of-state companies and individuals in order to discourage their local buying, selling and renting of properties.
Tuesday’s meeting came on the heels of another evening of renters who gathered in frustration to say they can’t afford to live in areas where they work.
Rising rents were front and center Monday night during the roundtable discussion at the Bear Creek Recreation Center near the Meadow Woods community in south Orange County.
Single moms spoke about working full time but not being able to make rent.
“My lights were turned off and I had my two year old daughter sitting with me for three days in the dark,” one local resident said tearfully at Monday’s meeting.
Hospitality workers seemed to be having a particularly hard time making ends meet, sharing their struggles to keep a roof over their heads.
Orange County Commissioner Maribel Gomez Cordero talked about a rent control measure that the board is considering.
The deadline for the measure to make it onto the November ballot is Aug. 23.
In Orange County, rents have risen about 30% over the past year, according to Bracy.
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