Causes & Non-profits
HOPE FOR HOUSING Our Big Victory On Thursday, September 5, 2019, HOPE won a historic victory! County Commissioners voted to approve a County Ordinance that amends Hillsborough County Code of Laws and Ordinances to establish a local Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Fund of at least $10 million annually for affordable housing! Over time this will impact the quality of life of tens of thousands of families! This Ordinance requires the County's Budget Officer to ensure that each annual budget includes an allocation of at least $10 Million in new monies in the Fund and a program for using the funds to provide loans and grants to create and sustain affordable housing for very low and low income households in Hillsborough County. Winning this long-term policy change has been a hard fought 6-year journey! We made it happen because of all who shared their housing stories, worked on the affordable housing committee, prayed for this bold step, attended BOCC meetings, worked to build Justice Ministry Networks, invested financially and worked to get people to attend the HOPE Nehemiah Actions of 1,000 to 1,300 people. The power of our Nehemiah Actions got Commissioners to commit to move this forward! Our persistence and constantly showing up brought it home! On September 5, over 50 HOPE members showed up to let Commissioners know we wanted them to vote to approve the Ordinance to establish this needed local Affordable Housing Fund. We had 11 speakers. Two of them were Terry Lofton of Trinity CME and Maria Gainey of New Smyrna Full Gospel. Both members shared their difficult struggles to find decent housing they can afford. They brought us to tears. Hillsborough Organization for Progress and Equality 9/12/2019 HOPE FOR HOUSING In asking for support of the Ordinance, we also asked for revisions to strengthen the Ordinance. We won some important changes to the ordinance and there was important conversation recorded on the more urgent need for housing for the lowest income persons! The ordinance requires that not less than 30% of the $10 million will be spent on affordable housing for very low income and not less than 30% will be spent for low income households. Up to 5% can be spent on Administration and it caps income levels so funds cannot be spent on households above 100% of AMI. We also got it to require a Super Majority vote – half plus one - for any possible reallocation of funds. An Affordable Housing Biennial Plan will determine the annual priorities of the funds, the eligible strategies and description of how the funds will be distributed among the income levels approved in the Ordinance. The first Biennial Plan will be presented at the Oct. 7 AHAB meeting and then go before the BOCC for approval. These will be opportunities to monitor and continue pushing for the Fund to be prioritized to create housing affordable for very low-income families! On behalf of the 23 HOPE member congregations, we invite you to join us at the HOPE 31st Annual Convention on October 28th, 2019 at 7 pm at Tampa First Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 822 W Linebaugh Ave, Tampa, FL 33612. At our Convention hundreds of leaders from HOPE member congregations will celebrate our victories and make decisions regarding our 2020 community issues. We hope you can join us October 28th so you can continue to learn more about HOPE’s community work.