When I started working on a campaign to educate residents on the $45 million the City of St. Petersburg would receive from the American Rescue Plan in the first half of 2021, I knew that access to affordable housing was a problem for many residents. So I wasn’t surprised when I asked people about how the money should be spent that there was a large consensus around affordable housing.
However, I was surprised to hear people’s stories of $400-$1,000 increases or just flat out non-renewal notices for rent. I heard from people who were willing to do anything to keep a roof over their family’s heads. Perhaps most surprising was what people were willing to do for those in their community. Along the way, I’ve seen friends and leaders of this movement that were not impacted when they got involved suddenly grapple with the reality of housing instability in their lives.