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Pinellas Agrees to Buy Lealman Land for Affordable Housing

Lealman | Pinellas County | TB Reporter

The land is located in the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area.

LEALMAN – The Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County, in partnership with the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, entered into a contract to purchase approximately 7.7 acres of property directly across from Lealman Avenue Elementary School on 58th Avenue North. The property is currently owned by D&D Ministries.

The property consists of an assembly of 26 parcels of land containing 55 housing units (a mix of single family and apartment units), some non-residential facilities, and a former fire station building. It is located within the recently established Lealman Community Redevelopment Area. Lealman is an unincorporated area located generally between Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg on the north and south; I-275 on the east and Park Street on the west. It is divided in two by Kenneth City. The Lealman CRA is centered in the portion of Lealman to the east of Kenneth City.

The immediate use of the properties is to maintain the existing residential units as affordable housing and to introduce county services needed in the area. These services may include staff and programs from Pinellas County Health & Human Services, Community Development, Code Enforcement, and the Sheriff’s Office.The long-range plan for the properties will continue the affordable housing focus with possible expansion and more housing units with redevelopment. It will also will prevent de-stabilization of a four-block area and is envisioned as a “testing ground” to introduce innovative programs and policies to support community revitalization.

It is unclear how much the property will cost. But county officials say the money will come from the Affordable Housing Land Assembly Fund, which was established by county commission and funded through the county’s capital improvement program with Penny for Pinellas dollars. The Land Assembly Fund was established to promote affordable housing development and is funded with $15 million dollars.

This property was identified through a public Letter of Interest request that allowed property owners interested in selling property to negotiate with the Housing Finance Authority for a potential sale. This offer included the land, existing residential units and other structures. Property acquired with Land Assembly Funds must remain in ownership of Pinellas County or the Pinellas County Housing Finance Authority.

“This is a great example of how your county commission is working hard to improve one of the most impoverished communities in our county,” Pinellas County commissioner Janet Long said in an email to constituents. “For this particular area, it will be transformational.”

For information about the Lealman CRA, go to

Map of Lealman CRA courtesy of Pinellas County.

Lealman | Lealman CRA | Pinellas County | Pinellas County Commission | Janet Long | TB Reporter

#Lealman #LealmanCRA #PinellasCounty #PinellasCountyCommission #JanetLong #TBReporter


Affordable Apartment Complex Breaks Ground in Largo

Groundbreaking | Shovels | Events

The complex is a public-private partnership funded in part with money from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax.

LARGO – A groundbreaking is scheduled Wednesday (May 10) for an apartment complex designed to provide housing for people of various income levels.

Palms of Pinellas is a 92-unit mixed-income housing development centrally located in Pinellas County which will offer a new housing option for the local workforce at various income levels. A ground breaking scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday will kick off construction of the complex, 13101 Belcher Road S in Largo. Pinellas County government officials will join members of the Pinellas County Housing Authority, U.S. AmeriBank, Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County, and developer Norstar/Primerica Multifamily Group for the ceremony.

Palms of Pinellas will offer one-, two- and three-bedroom apartment homes at mixed-income levels in support of the county’s strategic goal to foster continual economic growth and vitality.

Income limits will apply to all units and not exceed 150 percent of the area median income with 10 units restricted to 80 percent of area median income and an additional 19 units further restricted to 50 percent of this level.

The total project cost is $13.8 million. Primary construction financing is being provided by USAmeriBank. The development is made possible through a $938,000 investment from the Affordable Housing Land Assembly Fund, supported by the Penny for Pinellas 1-percent sales tax. Additional development loan financing in the amount of $1.5 million is being provided by Pinellas County using federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds and local housing trust funds. 

As the landowner, the county can ensure the apartments will remain at an affordable level into the future.

For information about the Pinellas County Housing Authority, go to

Pinellas County | Palms of Pinellas | Affordable Housing | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

#PinellasCounty #PalmsofPinellas #AffordableHousing #TampaBayNews #TBReporter


Shaw Introduces Bills Covering Civil Rights, Children, Insurance

Sean Shaw | Florida House District 61 | Tampa

State Rep. Sean Shaw has filed six bills he wants passed in the upcoming Legislative Session.

TAMPA – State Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa, says he has filed six pieces of legislation he hopes to get passed in the legislative session that began this week.

He offered a brief description of each proposal:

House Bill 177 – Suspension of Civil Rights

This bill is about ensuring that one mistake does not permanently impact someone’s ability to be a contributing member of society. Upon the passing of HB 177, only those convicted of a life (capital) felony or a forcible (violent) felony would have their civil rights suspended. These civil rights include the right to vote, the right to sit on a jury, the right to hold public office, and the right to possess a firearm.

HB 421 – Public Housing Authority Insurance

This bill seeks to protect self-insurance companies by allowing them to keep their current clients and to continue to be able to compete in the Florida market. It supports the availability of affordable and workforce housing with no cost to the state. Also, if passed it will allow for open market competition among varying insurance providers and products. The bill does not create any unfair advantage for any single insurance product and it maintains the involvement of the Public Housing Authority’s participation in these programs.

HB 639 – Emergency Assessments for Property Insurance

This bill aims to update the laws that govern Citizen’s Property Insurance Corp. and Florida’s insurance guaranty association, also known as FIGA. FIGA is the safety net for insurance consumers should their insurance company become insolvent – just like the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is a safety net for banks. The current law allows for FIGA to help insurance consumers get their claims paid, when a mega storm hits – like a category 5 storm blowing through Tampa. This bill prepares Florida and FIGA to answer the call of condominium association residents and gives FIGA the ability to pay claims timely, in the unlikely event that their insurance company becomes insolvent.

HB 641 – Criminal Justice

This legislation will save taxpayer money by diverting non-violent offenders from prison to treatment programs. This saves the state money that would otherwise be spent warehousing prisoners whose incarceration does not promote public safety. The bill also recognizes the importance of judicial discretion in sentencing by allowing a court to depart from mandatory minimums in certain instances. It revives the Criminal Justice Sentencing Commission to make recommendations regarding the Offense Severity Ranking Chart used to assign sentencing points to offenders.

HB 783 – Tampa Success Zone

This bill creates a Tampa Success Zone within Hillsborough County as a children’s initiative to assist disadvantaged areas in creating community-based service network and programming.

HB 911 -1nsurance Adjusters

This bill will revise requirements for certain insurance adjusters and adjusting firms to obtain licenses or appointments and will also revise certain insurance adjusters’ scope of practice. The bill will require primary adjusters to be designated at each adjusting firm and adjusting firm location.

Shaw represents House District 61, which covers much of Tampa’s urban core including Ybor City, Tampa Heights, Seminole Heights and East Tampa.

For information about Shaw, go to

Sean Shaw | Florida House of Representatives | House District 61 | TB Reporter

#SeanShaw #FloridaHouseofRepresentatives #HouseDistrict61 #TBReporter

Pinellas Program for At-Risk Youths Gets $1.1 Million

Kathy Castor | U.S. House | District 14

YouthBuild is a community-based alternative education program that provides job training.

PINELLAS COUNTY – U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, announced a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Labor grant for CareerSource Pinellas’ YouthBuild, which gives youth seeking a second chance in life a bright and hopeful future by giving them the education and job training they need to turn their lives around.

“YouthBuild’s mission aligns closely with that of President [Barack] Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which aims to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color, and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential,” Castor said. “YouthBuild closely shepherds at-risk kids and helps ensure that our youth – no matter the zip they are from – have a shot, and in some cases a second shot, to get on the ladder of success.”

YouthBuild is community-based alternative education that provides instruction and occupational training in construction and other fields. It serves people 16 to 24 years old who have dropped out of high school and been in the criminal justice system, are aging out of foster care, or have dropped out of school and then gone back.

Last year, the Tampa Housing Authority received a $1 million grant for its YouthBuild, where some of its most recent participants have put their prison time behind them to get on track with full-time construction jobs or post-secondary school for careers such as fire safety or legal.

“Over the years, YouthBuild has made a significant impact on so many youth across Tampa Bay and I am pleased YouthBuild will remain an important education and job training resource for students and families who need it the most,” Castor said.

For information about Castor, go to

Kathy Castor | YouthBuild | Education | Alternative Education | Job Training | TB Reporter

#KathyCastor #YouthBuild #Education #AlternativeEducation #JobTraining #TBReporter


Overman Schedules Campaign Kickoff for Hillsborough Commission

Kimberly Overman | Hillsborough County Commission | Politics

Kim Overman is running for the Distrtict 7 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – Kim Overman has set a campaign kickoff for her campaign for the District 7 seat on the Hillsborough County Commission.

The event is set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 29 at the Rialto Theatre, 1617 N Franklin St. in Tampa.

Overman is a certified financial planner who offers financial planning, pension consulting, and wealth management services to individuals and family businesses, as well as to corporations and non-profit organizations. She is the past chair of the Hillsborough County Housing Finance Authority, treasurer for Communities in Schools, and board member for Seniors in Service and Voices for Children of Hillsborough County.

“I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time” because of transportation and land use issues, she said on her Facebook page. “The icing on the cake was the lack of leadership that was confirmed over the issue of the Confederate war memorial. We need leadership that is willing to govern for its citizens. When survey findings indicate that our failure to address our transportation challenges is lack of political will, it’s time for a change.”

Overman, a Democrat, is running for the District 7 seat, which is voted on countywide. Democrats Charles Davis III, Corey L. Reynolds, and Sky U. White have also announced candidacies for the seat as have Republicans Cherie L. Denham and Sandra Murman, who holds the District 1 seat on the Hillsborough commission.

The primary election is Aug. 28. The general election is Nov. 6.

To RSVP for the campaign kickoff, go to

For information about Overman, go to

Kimberly Overman | Politics | Elections | Hillsborough County Commission | Sandra Murman | Tampabay News

#KimberlyOverman #Politics #Elections #HillsboroughCountyCommission #SandraMurman #TampabayNews



‘Affordable’ Apartment Complex Opens in Clearwater

Garden Trail Apts. | Affordable Housing | Clearwater

The affordable housing development is a partnership between Pinellas County, Clearwater, Housing Finance Authority and Florida Finance Housing Corp.

CLEARWATER – A 76-unit apartment development in Clearwater will offer a new affordable housing option for local residents thanks to a partnership among Pinellas County, the city of Clearwater, the Florida Housing Finance Corp. and a local affordable housing development company.

Local and state officials will join developer Southport Financial Services to celebrate the opening of Garden Trail Apartments, 609 Seminole St., at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday ( Jan. 11) for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

The two and three-bedroom homes in Garden Trail are targeted for residents who earn 60 percent of the area median income or below. Garden Trail is located just north of downtown Clearwater, adjacent the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail.

Pinellas County, in partnership with the Housing Finance Authority, purchased land for this project with more than $1 million through the Affordable Housing Land Assembly Fund, which comes from the Penny for Pinellas sales tax. As the landowner, the county can ensure the apartments will remain at an affordable level in the future.

The city of Clearwater contributed $350,000 in federal community development block grant funds for project infrastructure, and additional support came from the Florida Housing Finance Corp.

For information, call the Pinellas County Planning Department at (727) 464-8200.

For information about Pinellas County, go to

Photo courtesy of Pinellas County marketing and communications.

Pinellas County | Apartments | Apartments Clearwater | Apartments Affordable | TB Reporter

#PinellasCounty #Apartments #ApartmentsClearwater #ApartmentsAffordable #TBReporter

Potential Homebuyers Invited to Annual HOPE Expo and Workshop June 4

By TB Reporter

Those wishing to attend should register by Friday (May 27).

ST. PETERSBURG — Potential homebuyers are invited to the HOPE Expo, a free informational workshop and exhibit at the Raymond James Financial Center/Tower 4, 880 Carillon Parkway, on Saturday, June 4. The free homebuyer workshop is from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration and check-in begins at 8:15 a.m.

Made available by federal, state, local and community-based housing agencies in addition to realtors, lenders and other housing-industry professionals, the annual HOPE Expo, or “Home Ownership for People Everywhere” workshop, is for anyone who wants to own his or her own home and learn more about the process and assistance available to qualified applicants.

Attendance at the entire homebuyer workshop is mandatory for those who want to receive the homebuyer training certificate that some lenders and down-payment assistance programs require.

Seating is limited, and early registration is encouraged. Attendees should RSVP by Friday, May 27 – online at or by phone, 727-461-0618 ext. 4.

The 2016 HOPE Expo is endorsed by the cities of St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Largo, the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas, Pinellas County Community Development and Planning, Community Service Foundation, Tampa Bay Community Development Corporation, Neighborhood Home Solutions and the Pinellas Realtor Organization.

For more information, visit or call (727) 461-0618.

St. Petersburg | HOPE Expo | Home Ownership | Homebuyer workshop | TB Reporter

#St.Petersburg #HOPEExpo #HomeOwnership #HomebuyerWorkshop #TBReporter




Lealman, Ridgecrest Improvements Topic of Radio Show

Community Development | Neighborhood Improvement | Renovations

Pinellas County wants to improve the unincorporated Lealman and Ridgecrest areas.

PINELLAS COUNTY – The county’s efforts to improve communities in Lealman and the greater Ridgecrest areas are the focus of Thursday’s (Sept. 3) edition of No Place Like Home, the radio show sponsored by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County.

The featured guests, staff members from Pinellas County’s Community Development and Planning Department, include Renea Vincent, division manager and Frank Bowman, community planning manager. Vincent and Bowman discuss the Community Redevelopment Area designation for the Lealman community and the master plan in development for the greater Ridgecrest area near Largo. Both programs are working with residents to improve infrastructure and the quality of life for the residents who live there.

The radio program, which features different issues each month, airs the first Thursday of each month from 10:05 a.m. to 10:35 a.m. on WRXB 1590 AM. The show can also be watched on PCC-TV (Bright House 637, WOW 18 and Verizon 44), YouTube or viewed online.

For information about the Lealman CRA, go to For information about the Ridgecrest redevelopment area, go to

Pinellas County | Lealman | Ridgecrest | No Place Like Home | Housing Finance Authority | TB Reporter

#PinellasCounty #Lealman #Ridgecrest #NoPlaceLikeHome #HousingFinanceAuthority #TBReporter