Protesters protest Jacksonville rent hike

JACKSONVILLE, Florida. – Local activist groups, including Florida Rising, Florida For All and the Jacksonville Community Action Committee, gathered for a rally Tuesday night outside City Hall, denouncing rising rents.

They are calling for a fairer distribution of taxpayers’ money from the city budget to solve problems locally.

Activists say the city’s budget should be directed toward creating and staffing an office for tenant advocates with a landlord registry to hold landlords accountable.

Christina Kittle is a member of Florida Rising. She says she would like to hear the city declare a state of affordable housing emergency.

“Once we have a state of emergency, that opens the door for us to stabilize rents and come up with legislation that can help tenants,” Kittle said.

According to rent.com, the average price for a one-bedroom apartment in Jacksonville is $1,370, up $178 from a year ago ($1,191) and a 15% increase.

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The average price for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,576, up $169 from a year ago ($1,407) and up 12%

Many people talked about rising costs at the Tuesday night meeting of the Jacksonville City Council.

“Workers cannot afford these astronomical prices,” Marie Peterson told the council.

“I’m going from $850 to $1,200 with no increase,” Thomas Jordan said. “People there are homeless. It makes me sad. Some people cannot pay rent.

Councilman Matt Carlucci said the council is working to resolve the issue. He said there will be a focus on the issue of affordable housing and that council plans to have a special committee. He released a statement which reads:

“There is a trend of building small homes in their own developments that are under 600 sg. ft. which should be more affordable. This trend is just beginning to gain traction. City council is going to have a special committee on affordable housing and other issues.

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A few weeks ago it was announced that a new workforce housing complex was coming to the San Marco area. The $43 million project will be located along the Philips Expressway and will have 172 apartments.

It will consist of a mix of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units that will rent from $830 to $1,200 per month.

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