Habitat for Humanity’s advocacy efforts are essential to expanding the supply and preservation of affordable homes. With 1 in 6 households in Florida spending over half their income on housing—Habitat alone cannot solve the problem. In order to educate and inform our community to prepare for the upcoming elections, Habitat asked all candidates to complete a questionnaire regarding their stance on the housing issues directly impacting them. The questionnaire is not meant to serve as an endorsement of/for any particular candidate and/or political party.
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
Name: Victor Rodriguez
Candidate for Office: Pasco County Commission, District 5
How would you characterize the housing needs in your district, for both renters and for homeowners?
In desperate need of affordable housing! people are living paycheck to paycheck and one step away from being homeless. People are having to work just to afford rent or mortgage while the current board is raising taxes!
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?
I will work with companies like Habitat for humanity to bring affordable home’s to the area. I will also look at other PPP’s to attract affordable housing to the area by utilizing the 15 Opportunity zones in the county.
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?
We have 15 Opportunity zones in Pasco this needs to be front and center when discussing affordable housing in the county. Investors are taking advantage of this opportunity in many parts of Florida and the US. We need to capitalize on this before it’s gone!
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?
I will continue by educating and bringing better paying job’s to the county. I will also work with community leaders making sure that we are not providing road blocks to Minorities.
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 may sound like a broken record but I would utilize The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 with Qualified Opportunity zones. I would also work close with the HUD Secretary to expand these Opportunity zones in the area.
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?
I’m not sure there’s much that the local government can do about the real estate market. What we can look at is setting money aside for future land purchases in these Opportunity zones as well as slowing development down.
Specific to Housing
Any additional information pertaining to affordable housing you would like the voters to know?
I currently hold the position of Regional Director of Operations for one of the largest multifamily HVAC contractors in the south eastern US. We specialize in multifamily housing and I’m keenly aware of the process of what goes on in these project’s as well as relationships in the industry. I also have worked on many affordable housing project developments throughout the state, I believe people ultimately associate affordable with public housing and that’s not what these developments are. We want people to be able to afford a good quality of living!
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