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Recent polling published by the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign indicates 76% of voters are likely to vote for a candidate that has a detailed plan for making housing more affordable. We hope that you will take this opportunity to review the questionnaires.


2020 Pasco Board of County Commission

Candidate Questionnaire

 

Name: Kathryn Starkey

Candidate for Office: Pasco County Commission, District 3

 

District Issues
How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?

On the west side of my district we have a great need for affordable housing, in the central and eastern part there is a need but land is scarce.

 

Affordable Homeownership
According to the most recent data from Zillow the median price of homes currently listed in Pasco County is $237,745 while the median price of homes that sold was $209,500. Opportunities for affordable homeownership still present challenges for many working families. What will you do to expand access to affordable homeownership for working families?

We are incentivize wf housing in US-19 Area We are Waiving impact fees like we did for Habitat. I have brought in many developers & driven with them on the corridor to show them the opportunities. We have some Opportunity Zones, that can be a vehicle for new housing. I serve on the Community, Economic Development & Workforce Committee for the National Association of Counties. We are constantly interacting with Hud Officials to advocate for more funds to help with this problem in DC. I also speak to my elected officials to not sweep the Sadowski Trust Fund.

 

Availability of Affordable Housing
According to the University of Florida Shimberg Center for Housing Studies, within our regional MSA which encompasses both Pinellas and Pasco counties there are only 53 available affordable housing units for every 100 households under 60% AMI. What investments or policy would you champion to address the growing gap between what citizens can afford and housing costs?

I am a big believer in ADU’s so I am working w/staff to change or comp plan to allow them without additional fees.

We are expanding our first time buyer assistance program. And again, if Tallahassee doesn’t sweep the trust funds that 6 million can go along way to help people!

 

Racial Disparities in Homeownership
In Pasco County there is a 20.4% gap between White (72.0%)/ African American (51.6%) homeownership rates which is better than both the State gap of 24.% and national gap of 28%, however still leaves work to be done. How will you continue this progress to reduce the racial homeownership disparities in households of color?

The Median hourly wages for Black workers in Tampa Bay ($16.42) are 21% less than White workers ($20.90). The wage gap between Black and White workers in Pasco County (-9.9%) is less than half of the regional gap.

Black students in Tampa Bay’s public schools graduate high school at a lower rate (79.7%) than their White peers (89.3%). But Pasco County has nearly closed the equity gap, with only 0.4% separating White and Black students. So we need to study this further. Perhaps an outreach for first time buyers.

 

Funding
We cannot meet our growing housing needs without additional resources. What do you believe can be done to provide additional resources for affordable housing and how will you work towards meeting those goals?

I am an advocate for increased funding in Washington DC. I have met with Secretary Carson and others to increase funding. And I share with my Florida and Pasco Delegation how great the need is. I have also put on town halls to help citizens learn to navigate opportunities they may not know about. I bring in speakers that offer help and info.

 

Land
The availability of affordable land and developable land, especially around transit corridors or job centers in Pasco County continues to remain a challenge. What role can local government(s) play to help mitigate raising land costs?

We can waive impact fees and offer matching funds and help apply for grants. We can also change land regulations to allow for greater densities and allow ADU’s, Accessory Dwelling Units, to be added where appropriate. Also, when banks give us condemned properties we can offer them to housing folks who specialize in workforce housing. We can also surplus any uneeded lands where appropriate to enter into p3 partnerships.

 

Specific to Housing
Any additional information pertaining to affordable housing you would like the voters to know?

For many years funds that help build housing have been swept. If not for Covid we’d have received $6,000,000 this year. We have a team working Together to help solve this important problem. I started a workforce training program, AMSkills to help our community members get better jobs! AMSkills.org to learn more. We’ve put many homeless people into great jobs with great companies. We have helped upskill others for better earning potential!

Affordable housing is a super important issue facing elected officials. As chair of the federal committee at Fla Assoc of Counties I work this all the time.

 


 

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