Tampa community protests for rent control amidst housing crisis
Tampa, FL – On August 7, Tampa organizers rallied at city hall to demand rent control be on the ballot for the upcoming November city election. The emergency protest was called after the city council voted on August 4 against putting the rent control demand on the ballot.
Rent in Tampa has been rising rapidly, with rents being 38% higher than January 2021. Since March 15, there have been 31,357 evictions filed in Tampa as many can’t keep up with the rising rent rates. The city council voted six to one on July 28 to declare a housing state of emergency, and the vote against rent control being on the ballot came as a slap in the face to Tampa residents.
Joseph Nohava, member of Tampa Bay Community Action Committee (TBCAC), stated in a speech at the event, “What’s most appalling is the betrayal of those on the city council who can acknowledge that there’s a housing emergency, but refuse to take action.”
Despite rain, the protesters continued to demand that rent control be put on the ballot in the November election and that more money be given to housing assistance rather than the police budget. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor proposed on August 4 the new city budget. It included $5.5 million to housing, but 40% of the general fund will be given to the Tampa Police Department. TBCAC is demanding, in its current People’s Budget Campaign, that $40 million be given to housing resources rather than the police.
TBCAC and other community organizations will also be present at future city council meetings to demand rent control be added to the November election ballot. There are public budget hearings on September 6 and 22.