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'Keep Our Families Together' Act introduced to help with affordable housing in Jacksonville

Councilman Rory Diamond and four others introduced the legislation to relieve the pressure of inflation and allow families to build Accessory Dwelling Units.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida families are finding themselves priced out of buying their forever home or keeping their apartment.

It's something Beth Mixson hears everyday while working for Family Promise of Jacksonville

"The increase in rent has really hurt the working poor," she explained. "People who are low income or even low middle income are struggling to stay housed." 

The nonprofit provides family support through a partnership with 16 area churches and a temporary shelter for parents with children.

She's noticed since the pandemic, families finances have taken a hit. 

"It's a well-known fiscal fact that most families can't afford a $400 emergency. So, if they have a $400 rent increase every month, then how do they find it?" she told First Coast News.

Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond, along with four other city leaders, is sponsoring legislation that would allow people to build 'Accessory Dwelling Units' on their properties, a secondary housing unit on an already existing single family lot. 

"Rent keeps going up, the affordability of housing keep getting further and further out of reach," Diamond said. 

ADU's have been approved in other large cities to combat the lack of affordable housing nationwide. Diamond says the goal is to keep families together.

"This is low-hanging fruit to helping deal with this affordability crisis when it comes to housing. There is not enough places to rent here. So, this is an easy way to put a bunch of new units on the market," he said. 

Diamond says the legislation is going through the committee process this week and will be voted on next Tuesday.

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