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The St. Petersburg City Council will explore rent control to deal with the city's housing crisis

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The St. Petersburg City Council voted 6-1 to explore potential rent control for the area.

Residents spoke of their experiences dealing with high rent at last week's city council meeting.

Renting property in St. Petersburg has become increasingly unaffordable for the average working person.

Residents spoke of their experiences dealing with high rent at last week's city council meeting, and they're asking leaders to help ease the housing crisis.

The council listened, voting 6-1 to explore potential rent control for the area — with Robert Blackmon the lone dissenting vote.

Councilwoman Amy Foster proposed the action. She said her experiences working in the housing arena have echoed these concerns.

"What I see every single day is the fruit of not investing in these solutions," Foster said. “People make risky decisions when they’re housing unstable. They stay with their abuser. They’re willing to do things with their bodies because they have to in order to make ends meet.”

The city needs to address its housing crisis for the well-being of its citizens, Foster said.

“I really think that we owe it to our constituents to at least ask for this report and hear back in the new year from the administration on this,” she said.

Mayor Ken Welch and his new administration will review a drafted ordinance prepared by the public that would keep rent costs from rising for a year and report back with "legal options to address the housing crisis." The city's legal advisors will report back on the legality of the city's options.

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.