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Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey wants the city to get creative with affordable housing

A green two-story building with four apartments on each floor
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Tallahassee is trying to solve its low-income housing shortage

The Tallahassee City Commission devoted a lot of conversation to affordable housing during its annual retreat Wednesday. That was an encouraging sign for those who’d been calling on the city to build more of it.

Mayor John Dailey says there’s a national housing crisis, and that Tallahassee is not immune to it. According to the University of California at Berkley, developers face financial challenges when it comes to low-income housing due to rising land and material costs. Dailey is now challenging the commission to solve that riddle.

“I’ll give you a prime example that came from the Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, who’s looking at different ways on how, yes, the city and the county can work with the development community for the cost of infrastructure, which we currently require the developer to absorb 100 percent of," Dailey said. "Again, we’re talking about affordable, low-income and very-low-income neighborhoods.”

Dailey is asking his fellow commissioners to think creatively — music to the ears of Bob Deyle. Deyle co-chairs the affordable housing research committee of the Capital Area Justice Ministry. The group has been calling for the city to do more to help people paying overwhelming amounts of their incomes for housing.

“And I heard some good things, particularly from Mayor Dailey, who acknowledged in his remarks about affordable housing that we do have more to do — for very-low-income households in particular — but I also heard him call for creative conversations.”

The Justice Ministry points to data from the city that says as of 2020, more than 13,500 Tallahassee families who earn from 30 to 50 percent of the Area Median Income are spending half or more of their incomes on rent.

Deyle says the group has meetings with city commissioners coming up.

Follow @MargieMenzel

Margie Menzel covers local and state government for WFSU News. She has also worked at the News Service of Florida and Gannett News Service. She earned her B.A. in history at Vanderbilt University and her M.S. in journalism at Florida A&M University.