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New Sarasota-Manatee housing collaborative may offer immediate help to struggling renters

Saundra Amrhein – Sarasota Herald-Tribune

With an affordable housing crisis pricing out long-time residents, area leaders in Sarasota and Manatee counties have come together for a project that could possibly help hundreds of families in a matter of months.

Funded by local foundations and philanthropists, the Suncoast Housing Collaborative is set to officially launch in mid-September, said Chris Johnson, chief executive officer of the Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, the nonprofit overseeing the initiative.

The housing collaborative, closely modeled after a successful Nashville project, will be an alliance between social service agencies and private property owners, who will receive incentives in exchange for lowering or removing rental barriers often encountered by low-income and working families. Those barriers could include income requirements, previous evictions, poor credit or a non-violent criminal history, Johnson said.