JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Progressive Coalition, Florida Rising Together and Florida For All held a rental housing crisis forum Sunday to address the city’s skyrocketing rent prices.
The group said its goal was to help renters in River City find solutions to increase the cost of rent and provide space to discuss ways to help them live comfortably.
During the meeting, the group mentioned how a research project done at the University of North Florida found that more than half of renters surveyed were spending more than a third of their income on rent, making it hard for them to live.
The survey found that Jacksonville’s rent increased by 38% from January 2020 to November 2022.
One of the solutions the group said could help would be bringing a tenants union to the city. Other options include bringing a tenant’s bill of rights to the city and collecting more data.
“They would now know what their rights are and now what protections exist based on the law, and they would also be given information about those resources that are available,” said UNF Professor David Jaffee.
Forum organizers also believe that major corporations are coming to Jacksonville and owning multiple properties are contributing to the high rental problems.
Steven Johnson was among dozens of renters and homeowners who showed up Sunday afternoon to the rental housing crisis forum.
“Being a renter is very difficult when it comes to planning for the future,” Johnson said.
Johnson said the increase in rent caused him and others to cut back on the most basic necessities.
“You have to be a little bit more cautious to make things spread out over weeks, days and months,” Johnson said.
The idea for a tenant’s union, however, is something that wouldn’t be created right away.
Attendees shared their thoughts on how the union should work to advocate for renters.
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