Council mulls rent assistance for lowest-paid city employees

ST PETERSBURG, Fla. – The St. Pete City Council is set to vote Thursday on a new program that would provide rental assistance to the city’s lowest-paid employees.

Some city workers are required to live in St. Pete as a condition of their employment but can no longer afford to live there due to rising cost of rent.


What You Need To Know

  • St. Pete City Council set to vote Thursday on a new program that would provide rental assistance
  • Some city workers are required to live in St. Pete but no longer can afford to
  • Workers could be eligible for an up to $ 500 monthly stipend

Under the proposal, employees with the residency requirement who make less than $ 48,000 annually could be eligible for an up to $ 500 monthly stipend.

Roughly 250 employees fall into this category. If approved, it would cost $ 1,470,000 out of the city’s general fund.

“They can look at it as an additional $ 6,000 on their pay every year, or they can look at it as a scholarship,” explained City Councilwoman Brandi Gabbard. “We have been told by the property appraiser that due to property increases we have more money in the budget than we thought we were going to have.”

Gabbard wants to provide as much support as possible to city employees in hopes that they stay. She hopes local companies follow the city’s lead, should it be approved.

Keenan Karic has been working for the city since he was 18. He says he enjoys working with the kids at Roberts Recreation Center but has had to consider picking up a second job to be able to pay his bills.

“Everything adds up and sometimes it gets hard to do stuff for myself,” he said.

He was relieved to hear the city was working on a plan to provide some rent relief.

“I think it would be a plus for people working for the city and bring more people into work,” he said.

If approved, employees could see the additional funds starting in October.

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