As the holidays accelerate, residents of Tampa Bay are left homeless due to rapidly rising rents and ruthless evictions during an ongoing pandemic. By the end of November, more than 7,893 people had been evicted from Tampa Bay this year. Almost 3,000 of these evictions took place in Pinellas County.
On Thursday, December 16 at 5:00 pm, the St. Pete People’s Council, a coalition of tenants, will push back this trend by submitting their application for secured housing to St. Pete City Council. The first tactic the PPSC agreed on at a recent meeting was to present a petition for housing guaranteed to the council.
“Remember, they [city council] have all the resources to house everyone in this town, but it’s a deliberate choice not to, “PPSC wrote in an article on the next meeting.
St. Pete, along with the rest of Tampa Bay, is poised to become more burdened with rent than Los Angeles, with people of color bearing the brunt of the burden.
Last week, city council changed the notice period landlords must give tenants to vacate a property from 15 to 21 days.
This week, WMNF reported that PPSC members were upset with the move, which they said did not give tenants enough time to find new accommodation, leaving them potentially homeless. They had asked for 30 days’ notice as a compromise.
In October, CL published an article about a St. Pete tenant named Kelvin Washington, who was evicted at the last minute and was rushing out of his home due to the planned expansion of the downtown Cordova Inn. Washington died of heart complications after collapsing on the floor of his apartment.
Although eviction notices are short, city council voted to pass a resolution that makes it harder for landlords to discriminate against tenants based on their income. While the resolution now makes it harder to discriminate against Lyft and Uber drivers, other aspects have been heavily changed by the Bay Area Apartment Association. Homeowners can still discriminate against unemployed people and government assistance, as well as those who benefit from housing and urban development (HUD) programs.
Although they have encountered difficulties in meeting their demands from the city, the PPSC plans to continue its campaign for safe housing on Thursday.
“The only way we’re going to see change in this city is for the workers to come together and make demands,” PPSC wrote. “Power does not grant anything without a request!”
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