Tampa Bay REACH Initiative
Tampa Bay REACH Initiative
Resilience and Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing
Many homes throughout the region and especially those in low and moderate-income neighborhoods are at risk from extreme weather, flooding, storm surge and future sea level rise. The region also faces a severe shortage of affordable and attainable housing, and many options such as mobile homes and older structures are not resilient.
Some local governments are beginning to conduct community vulnerability assessments, however, the region lacks a common framework, consistent metrics, standardized data and technical resources to fully assess risks to housing. Resiliency, neighborhood revitalization and affordable housing priorities should be integrated and addressed together.
On January 7, 2020, The JPMorgan Chase Foundation awarded $500,000 to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council to implement a new initiative called the Resilience and Energy Assessment of Communities and Housing (REACH) that supports the Regional Resilience Coalition and member governments.
The REACH Project will bring together the region’s housing, resilience, and recovery planning experts and community leaders to assess potential risks that local communities face from extreme weather and sea level rise, and define new strategies and policies to increase affordable, resilient housing development and redevelopment.
During the two-year project, the TBRPC and local government Partners will work to integrate affordable housing, neighborhoods and community redevelopment into climate vulnerability assessments, and resilience and sustainability planning. The REACH project will provide local governments and community organizations with critical data and new tools to quantify risks and support decision-making.
Program Activities and Implementation Strategy
REACH will bring together the Tampa Bay region’s housing and resilience experts through a series of participatory workshops to create a baseline community vulnerability assessment (CVA) of lower-income communities and housing stock. The project will be conducted in Hernando, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Manatee Counties and specific interested cities. REACH will focus on housing in under-served and economically distressed areas.
Led by the TBRPC, the project team includes housing and community resilience experts at the following organizations:
Housing Initiatives Around the Region
To tackle critical affordable housing questions, Pinellas County and Forward Pinellas brought together community leaders and subject matter experts in a series of webinars in the fall of 2020. CJ Reynolds, TBRPC director of Resiliency and Engagement participated in the final “Homes for Pinellas” webinar hosted by Deputy County Administrator Jill Silverboard.
CJ and the panelists, which also included Evan Johnson, Interim Planning Division Manager for Pinellas County Housing and Community Development, Ben Toro-Spears, Chief Strategy Officer for the Florida Housing Coalition, and Julie Rocco, Senior Community Engagement Advocate for the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, discussed the need and benefits of creating a countywide housing strategy, and the idea of a housing compact as the next step to creating more homes.
The webinar also included presentations from Barry A. Burton, Pinellas County Administrator and Jamie Ross, President and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, and interviews with leading municipal staff, housing advocates and elected officials.
In 2020, the TBRPC and Pinellas county began collaborating on several affordable housing initiatives, and Reynolds serves on the County’s County-wide Housing Tactical Team. The TBRPC is leading the REACH Project in collaboration with the Florida Housing Coalition, United Way Suncoast, UF Shimberg Center for Housing Studies and the USF Center for Community Design and Research to develop a new suite of resilience and housing resources for local governments.
To watch this webinar: https://youtu.be/cJJRy9pMVBw