Affordable Rent

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Like many workers in Bay County, Robb Patterson, found it hard to get good paying job. But what proved even more difficult, was finding an affordable apartment where he wouldn't have to live paycheck to paycheck.

"I need a place where I could put all my stuff and affordably of course," says Robb Patterson.

An annual report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that hourly wage increases over the past year have failed to keep up with hike in rent and utilities. In Bay County, the average worker has to make at least $9.69 to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

"In the last year, especially with the development on the beach, a lot of affordable rental housing has disappeared. People that make $10 an hour or less can't afford to find a place to live," says Kim Davis, Manager of Stone Harbor Apartments.

Davis says complexes like Stone Harbor provide low rent with lots of amenities to median-wage earners. But she says her complex alone cannot satisfy the demand.

"We're the only affordable housing on the beach. There needs to be more," says Davis.

Davis says a simple tax credit motivated the company she works for to provide low-income housing, and Patterson says he's very thankful.

"It's like you're living above your means, but within your means," says Patterson.

The company that owns Stone Harbor Apartments hopes to build another low-income complex at the west end of the beach.