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Affordable Housing in the Sarasota Area

Friday, November 21, 2014   /   by Chip Deacon

Affordable Housing in the Sarasota Area

The City and County of Sarasota, in its everlasting growing pains and attempts to resolve the never-ending Homeless Population issues, has also been confronted with a dearth of Affordable Housing for the general population in need. This segment includes Seniors on restricted incomes, the Disabled, Low Income Households (Large Member and Part-Time Employed), Ex-Convicts, Recently Rehabilitated Addicts and Re-Homers (People struggling to regain a place to live).

To this end, there have been reports of at least two private parties to create developments specifically comprised of Affordable Housing Units. Harvey Vengroff and Jesse Biter both have faced seemingly insurmountable odds to bring Affordable Housing to or near the Downtown Core where, some argue, it is needed most to support the people who work in the Core but don't have adequate transportation to and from those jobs. To enable this population segment to get, keep and maintain quality employment, they need to live in close(r) proximity to their livelihood, reducing their commute time which often involves the transfer of young children to and from daycare/school. 

Harvey Vengroff  stays in Sarasota

Jesse's Land Buy     Jesse's Project Stymied     Jesse's Apts Approved with Partner

Harvey would like to build an 800 unit apartment complex on the north side of Fruitville Road east of School Road. He has suggested that the County could run a bus route or two through the property at an approved bus stop for the convenience of the Residents who would be using Mass Transit.

Jesse's project on Second Street at Central Avenue east towards Lemon Avenue is close to the existing Main Transfer Station for SCAT Service and would still be on or near several routes should the Terminal be relocated as has been the subject of discussion at the County.

Both of these Projects would provide much needed housing options, but at what point is space Affordable and then not? It has been suggested from a variety of anecdotal sources that a single person needs an annual salary of approximately $50,000 to live in Sarasota. That breaks down to $4,167 per month gross, $1,042 per week gross, and $26 per hour. GROSS! That is to cover BASIC Living Expenses of a $750 Rent, $300 Power/Water/Int/Cable, $50 Cell, $500 Food/Sundries, $700 Car Loan/Ins/Gas, $200 Health and $1,460 Payroll Taxes. That leaves a balance of about $60 for savings or pets or Medical Co-Pay or getting lost in the Dryer...

Generally speaking, $1 per square foot with no amenities (such as extra appliances or utilities included) is an acceptable rental rate in Sarasota. Based on these calculations, the average single person's living options are limited to a space equivalent to a one car garage! With a microwave! And an under-counter fridge!

Here's an idea... Create a space designed as a built-in environment much like a luxury ship! 

Andrew Scherer
1549 Ringling Blvd. Suite 600
Sarasota, FL 34236
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