By Agrippina Fadel
The affordable housing crisis is enormous and impacts the economy, social sector, and quality of life in Tamarac, according to Maxine Calloway, director of the city’s Community Development Department.
At the Jan. 23 workshop, she presented a report on a recent study on affordable housing in the county and what is being done to help residents.
Calloway attributed the crisis to remote workers moving to Florida during the pandemic, as well as “rampant investor buying” that has driven up home prices. Tamarac has a deficit of homes for moderate-income owners but a surplus of rentals for moderate-income renters.
The city currently uses programs to preserve existing affordable housing and help renters and homeowners, including Minor Home Repair Program and down payment and closing cost assistance for first-time buyers. The city is also working on an inclusionary zoning ordinance to encourage developers to include affordable units in housing projects.
“There’s extremely low or no inventory of affordable rental units for low-income residents, but a surplus of apartments and houses for rent that residents with a moderate income can afford,” Calloway added.
Residents whose rent has increased more than 5% since April 2020 can get more help through the American Rescue Plan funds with gap assistance of up to $3,500.
Vice Mayor Marlon Bolton asked her if there is a correlation between the city’s medium income and its ability to attract developers.
Calloway confirmed and said that is why it is important to provide housing that helps to diversify income.
“So, if we build affordable housing that attracts residents with low income?” asked Bolton.
Calloway reminded him that Tamarac has enough units for extremely low and low-income homebuyers but is lacking in mid-range properties, which is the type of inventory the city wants to attract and increase.
Commissioner Morey Wright asked how the city was helping long-term Broward County and Tamarac, residents.
“A lot of people are moving here from California and New York, and they are the ones driving up the housing costs. So what do we have in place for someone who lived in the county for five years or, like me, for 20 years?”
Calloway responded that the city program does not have priorities for longtime residents.
The city commission will discuss the inclusionary zoning ordinance and affordable housing at future meetings.
- Agrippina Fadel grew up in Siberia and received her master's in journalism from Tyumen State University. Agrippina is also a writer and editor at Draftsy.net. She has been a US resident for over ten years and speaks English and Russian.
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