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City leaders take on community concerns at public housing forum

Posted at 5:56 AM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 05:57:12-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.(WTXL) — The first of four public meetings was held Monday night for city leaders to hear from the community and get their take on issues affecting housing in Leon County.

Putting money in the right places was the main topic of conversation.

From housing assistance to public services. It was about making the city affordable for everyone to live.

"Instead of telling people what their needs are -- we think it's better to ask them what their needs are so we can make sure we have a good fit," said Dianne Williams-Cox/Tallahassee Mayor Pro Tem.

Finding the right fit for everyone can be a challenge.

At Monday's community meeting on housing, the City of Tallahassee is ready to take on that challenge to determine the needs of the community.

"I think the evening went really well. Participants had a good balance of education to learn about how the city does housing planning -- and then dove right into direct engagement right at the tables and had some really good conversations," said Abena Ojetayo, Director for Sustainability and Community Preservation.

Conversations included wanting to see more housing assistance childcare and transportation.

"It's important to make sure that the city officials and the people that are facilitating these types of conversations do include the residents and the community members because we are the ones that really understand some of the challenges," said Tryton Swigart-Johnson, Lives in Tallahassee.

Swigart-Johnson also says he wants city officials to give more attention to making sure everyone has a place to live including the homeless.

"When we talk about new homeowners or buying new homes -- we should worry about the people that don't have a home at all," said Swigart-Johnson.

Ojetayo says that this feedback is exactly what this meeting was all about.

"This is not just about how we address low income -- but really how do we make housing work for everybody in our community," said Ojetayo.

There will be three more public meetings on housing.

One on Tuesday and two next week to make sure everyone has an opportunity have their voices heard.