LARGO – This year, the city of Largo will receive just barely over the minimum allocation from the State Housing Initiatives Partnership, or SHIP, prompting the creation of an 11-person board to oversee how those funds are spent.
Largo’s first and only Affordable Housing Advisory Committee was created in 2008 and disbanded after the committee submitted the report required by the state. Since then, the city has received no more than the $350,000 minimum.
“The minimum funding, I think, has been a response to budget shortfalls that the state’s had,” Tom Moore, city housing finance specialist, said May 20. “But now the state is increasing funding for affordable housing.”
For the next fiscal year, Largo will receive $359,000.
“So just over the minimum,” Mayor Pat Gerard commented. “Well, that is good news.”
The funding up to now has been limited to two or three projects. The increase is small, but will have an impact.
“It expands our ability to help more people,” Moore said.
The committee would make recommendations to the commission about affordable housing incentives in expedited permitting, impact fee waivers or modifications, density flexibility, reservation of infrastructure, accessory dwelling units, parking and setbacks, flexible lot configurations, street requirements and development near transportation hubs and major employment centers and mixed-use developments.
The requirements for the 11-person board calls for experts for experts in home building, banking, advocacy for low-income persons and real estate as well as those who are involved in providing affordable housing. Only one person must live within the city of Largo, but the other requirements are “very specific,” said Gerard, who was on the commission the last time a board was put together.
“I remember what a pain this was to gather these people together,” she said.
Largo Housing Manager Matthew Anderson said his staff was already gathering a list of potential participants. Some of those who served the last time around have said they will return. While the statute requires 11 on the board, not everyone has to come to every meeting, of which there will only be two or three, Anderson said.
“We don’t think it’s going to be incredibly time consuming: a few meetings a couple of weeks apart. And the staff will be helping to put the report together and submitting it to commission,” he added.
Once the second reading of the ordinance allowing for the creation of the board is approved June 3, the commissioners must approve a resolution listing the names of those on the committee in June or July. That resolution will be submitted to the state prior to the report itself.
To find out more about eligibility or to apply to be on the committee, contact Housing Finance Specialist Tom Moore at 586-7489, ext. 7314 or email email@example.com.