Annual FAST assembly talks affordable housing

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, April 24, 2017, 9:59 PM EDT

On Monday night, about 3,000 people gathered at Tropicana Field for the annual FAST, or "Faith and Action for Strength Together", Nehemiah Action Assembly.

  • Group annually addresses community issues
  • 2017 assembly keyed in on affordable housing
  • Group asking for allocation in next "Penny for Pinellas" cycle

Each year, the group focuses on issues that affect the community.

This year, one of their key topics is affordable housing.

"Some of the data that has come out is that the average two bedroom apartment in St. Petersburg has now risen to $1,200 a month and for working people and elderly people on fixed incomes that is an impossible amount," said Rev. Kathleen Walter, who served on a FAST committee.

Elyse Milligan told us she works two jobs and she's still having trouble finding a one-bedroom apartment that's in her price range.

"Yes, everyone can say 'We want people to make more money,' but at the end of the day that's all well and good, but there are immediate needs and if my need is this blatant, then how much more are the needs of other people?" said Milligan.

FAST is asking Pinellas County and the City of St. Petersburg to allocate for affordable housing in the next "Penny for Pinellas" cycle, if the one cent sales tax is approved by voters again in November. They said they'd like to see the money used to buy land to build more affordable housing.