Tampa Bay Times May 29, 2020
Hillsborough begins $20 million affordable housing work
Seven groups are picked to build low-income apartments and single-family homes.
By C.T. Bowen
TAMPA —- Last year, Hillsborough County commissioners said they would budget $10 million to expand
affordable housing. Last week, they voted to start spending it.
The commission selected seven private groups to develop both owner-occupied homes and rental units
targeting low and very low income tenants as part of a nearly $20 million investment in affordable
housing around the county.
Commissioner Kimberly Overman called affordable housing “the greatest need we have, in addition to
“I’ve been on the board for three and a half years and I think this is one of the most important things we’ve
moved forward for lifting up so many people’s lives in Hillsborough County,’’ agreed Commissioner Pat
Much of the funding, $12.6 million, came from the county’s HOPE trust fund financed by local property
taxes. It is named for Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality, the faith-based agency that
spent six years pressing the county to expand its affordable housing options. The commission agreed to
put $10 million in that account for the current fiscal year. The rest of the allocation is a mix of federal and
The effort is intended to help people like Terry Lofton, 62, a former security guard who now lives on a
$962 monthly Social Security disability check. He lost his West Tampa studio apartment a year ago after
the landlord raised the rent.
He ended up homeless, crashing at a cousin’s place and now is living in the Falkenburg Road area,
assisting his former pastor, who is recovering from recent surgery. Lofton, a HOPE board member, shared
his plight with county officials last year and again in a recent interview with the Tampa Bay Times.
“I still can’t find a place to go,’’ he said.