Mayor Deegan’s affordable housing task force meets, gives recommendations

One of the biggest concerns in Jacksonville is housing, or the lack of it. The News4JAX I-TEAM has been showing you many of the concerns surrounding public housing over the years.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan has created a task force to come up with changes that could help renters, homeowners and builders.

On Tuesday, they voted on what recommendations to give to the mayor. The committee gave preliminary approval to some recommendations like improving the housing ecosystem and increasing attainable housing.

TELL US: Have you been or are you on the waiting list for affordable public housing in Jacksonville?

It’s hard to imagine that more than 147,000 people in Jacksonville are still waiting to get into public housing. We talked to one man who says he has been on the waiting list for years and for the past 17 months, he’s been living out of his car.

He told us he voted for Donna Deegan, hoping she could address this issue.

When we asked Josh Hicks, who is on the Affordable Housing Transition Subcommittee, if he thinks they can solve the housing crisis in Jacksonville, he said, “It’s going to take time. And you know, patience isn’t what a lot of people have when they’re addressing housing or they need available housing.”

The task force recommended more oversight and appointing a Chief Housing Officer. Also, change zoning laws to allow for more duplexes in the urban core.

“We’ve got to open that up, we’ve got to allow for more development in terms of multifamily mixed use housing that provides some of this inventory in our community,” Hicks said.

Most of the property available in Jacksonville, 90%, is zoned for single-family homes. Also, Jacksonville is short over 5,700 apartments and if it’s not addressed that number is expected to jump to more than 61,000 in seven years.

The committee will meet for a final time on Friday and take a final vote on their plan. It will then be presented to Mayor Deegan.

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