By Brad Stager
With a steady flow of new residents arriving to live in the Sunshine State, it is no surprise to those already here that Hillsborough County is a favored destination for newcomers.
Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate a 19.7 percent population growth in Hillsborough County between 2010 to 2019, with an estimated population of 1,471,968 at the end of that period. The percentage of people living at or below the poverty level in 2019 was given as 13.5 percent. Numbers from the 2020 census have yet to be released in detail.
With rapid growth creating a strong need for housing, ensuring that there are affordable options for longtime residents as well as those starting new lives here is the role of the Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB).
The AHAB provides advice to the Board of County Commissioners and Affordable Housing Services about affordable housing issues and assists in developing related programs and projects.
The board consists of 11 voting members who represent local governments (including Hillsborough County and the cities of Tampa, Temple Terrace and Plant City), local housing agencies as well as the homebuilding industry and financial services sector. There are also positions filled by individual county residents and affordable housing advocates. Members serve three-year terms. Details about specific positions such as required qualifications can be found on the AHAB page of the county’s website.
Topics discussed at meetings include updates of legislation, guidance and initiatives from local, state and federal entities, especially as they pertain to balancing free market interests and social needs. Navigating these elements on behalf of county residents is a challenge that Connie Burton, who serves as an at-large resident of Hillsborough County, spoke about at the April 12 meeting.
“While Tallahassee might have a strong hand, the moral compass of this community has to take some leadership,” said Burton.
Meetings are held the second Monday of each month, beginning at 9 a.m., and can be viewed live as they occur or as a recording made available afterward via the county’s YouTube channel.
You can find out more about the AHAB by visiting hillsboroughcounty.org or contacting Cheryl Howell at 274-6673. A request to speak at a meeting of the AHAB or to submit input can be made by sending an email to AffordableHousingServices@HCFLGov.net.