SPHA offers a variety of number of programs that provide affordable rental housing to low-income families and individuals in the Greater St. Petersburg region. SPHA is committed to affirmatively furthering fair housing in accordance with the Federal Fair Housing law.
Offering rental units at below market rates, Affordable Housing is a great low-cost option for the general public. The apartment complexes in our Affordable Housing portfolio are owned by the St. Petersburg Housing Authority (SPHA) or our non-profit arm, RISE Development Corporation, with no reliance on federal funding. Residents do not receive housing subsidies, but rents are affordably priced, and applicants are subject to income restrictions.
Established by the federal government to provide decent, safe and sanitary rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly and persons with special needs, Public Housing is an option for those with incomes up to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). SPHA owns and operates the Public Housing properties in our portfolio, and the federal government provides funding through subsidies. Public housing tenants typically pay 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. SPHA’s Public Housing wait list is currently closed.
Housing Choice Vouchers
Housing Choice Voucher Program
The Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, also known as Section 8, was created by Congress in 1974. It is the largest affordable housing program in the United States and is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HCV / Section 8 program provides rental assistance to families, the elderly and persons with special needs who have incomes up to 50 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Vouchers enable participants to receive a subsidy, while leasing from their choice of landlords in the private market. The rental assistance is designed so that families are not forced to spend an unreasonable portion of the monthly income on shelter. Section 8 tenants typically pay 30 percent of their monthly income for rent. The HCV / Section 8 program also allows families the flexibility to select the community or neighborhood in which they live, and vouchers can move with the tenant (portable). SPHA’s Section 8 wait list is closed.
Project-Based Voucher Program
Project-Based vouchers are similar to Section 8 vouchers, except they are tied to the units (not portable). Under the Project-Based Voucher program, the housing authority enters into an assistance contract with the owner for specified units and for a specified term. The goal of the Project-Based Voucher program is to expand the availability of higher quality affordable housing units to the elderly, disabled individuals, and homeless military veterans.
SPHA currently is administering the following Project-Based vouchers:
- 105 project-based vouchers for the low-income elderly (55 years and older) residents of Bay Pointe
Tower (formerly Serenity Towers)
- 162 project-based vouchers for qualified elderly (55 and older) residents of the Philip Benjamin
- 40 project-based vouchers for the homeless at the Pinellas Hope II transitional housing facility
- 23 project-based vouchers for Boley Centers, Inc. and Catholic Charities for veterans’ housing
Housing veterans has become SPHA’s Standard Operating Procedure. Here are some of the ways that we are helping our military veterans find and sustain affordable housing:
Project-Based Vouchers for Veterans
Through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funded Project-Based Voucher program, SPHA awarded 23 vouchers to Boley Centers, Inc. and Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg, Inc. to help house local military veterans. While similar in benefits to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, commonly called Section 8, the vouchers granted to Boley Centers and Catholic Charities are tied to specific housing units at their properties and must be used to make rent affordable for veterans.
HUD-VASH Vouchers for Homeless Veterans
Another federal program, known as HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH), is offering even more rental options to local homeless veterans. With a HUD-VASH voucher issued by SPHA, homeless veterans are able to rent private sector housing in St. Petersburg, contingent on their motivation to continue treatment and improve their individual circumstances. Since 2009, HUD has awarded a total of 275 HUD-VASH vouchers to SPHA, in addition to the regular vouchers allotted to the housing authority’s HCV / Section 8 program.
Housing Development for Veterans
SPHA has plans to build an accessible and affordable brick-and-mortar apartment development for local veterans. SPHA is actively working on this project and plans to commit at least $4 million to it.