Affordability in Dunedin

Many of you have expressed concerns regarding affordability in Dunedin. I too, am worried. My son is in college but when he graduates, will he be able to afford to live here? Will our parents be able to afford to downsize here?

Housing prices fluctuate with the economy. When first elected 14 years ago, our economy was booming & affordable housing was also a concern. We went to work & partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build both single family homes and a townhome community. We also partnered with the county to build Eco Village, the first Net Zero energy community.

During the recession, our budgets didn’t allow for this type of investment and there was less of a need as more affordable housing was available.

As the economy picked up again, housing prices in Dunedin have skyrocketed. Smaller, more affordable properties have been purchased & fixed up. While this is a good thing, many are being used for vacation rentals, thereby reducing the stock for first time home buyers & senior downsizing.

To address affordable housing, we’ve commissioned two studies – one regarding best practices to encourage the creation of affordable housing & one to tell us what portion of the population has the most need. What we found is that 51% of our population is 55 and older. The overall county is just 41%. Therefore, we have a greater saturation of seniors & and that’s where the greatest need is for affordable housing.

In our efforts to achieve this, we’ve been working with experienced affordable housing developers to try & spark up a partnership. In addition, the county has set aside a percentage of their penny funding for affordable housing. We are working with them to try & get grant funding towards this need.

But we can’t stop there. We have to commit our own funding sources too. We currently have the opportunity to set aside some funds that we will receive by selling excess city owned property. As the economy is shifting downward again, we have many needs. But affordable housing in Dunedin is an issue that we need to commit to.

**You can trust that I will work for housing options for all of Dunedin’s residents. **

These are just a few of the many issues we will face in our future. I want to hear from you as well. Tell me what you think is important. Email me @ jbujalski@verizon.net or call me @ 727-639-3458 and let’s discuss Dunedin’s future. Your voice is the most important one in the room!