TAMPA, Fla. — The process of relocating hundreds of families at Robles Park Village is underway as part of a redevelopment plan by the Tampa Housing Authority.

What You Need To Know

  • The process of relocating hundreds of families at Robles Park Village is underway before it is demolished

  • The Tampa Housing Authority is redeveloping Robles Park Village

  • Residents will be given vouchers to secure housing in city limits, within the county or out of state

Residents will be given vouchers to secure housing within city limits, in the county or out of state. 

The monthly housing assistance usually offered to Section 8 residents is based on the zip code and the number of rooms per unit being rented out. 

Tomica Davis has been living at Robles Park Village since the 1990s and said the scale for those vouchers set by the Tampa Housing Authority is too narrow, considering the ongoing housing crisis. 

Davis' three-bedroom apartment is one of more than 430 units built in the 1950s that will be demolished for redevelopment. 

She said she doesn't mind moving on, but is afraid to bring the children left in her car outside to play. 

"It's scary to be here — it's just gotten so dangerous," said Davis. "We have shootings during the day." 

Relocation is also a concern for Davis, who says Section 8 is not accepted everywhere in Tampa, therefore limiting housing options. 

"If my allotment is $1,200, I can find a place that will pay my rent, but if I don't have the income, then the average utility amount is going to come out of that allotment," she said. "Now it's dropped down to $900 for me to find a place." 

Davis and other residents shared their concerns with Robles Park Tenant Council President Reva Iman. 

During her five years as president, she went through training to learn HUD policies. It's knowledge that is now helping her advocate for residents in Robles Park. 

"That's what's in my heart," she said. "Depending on the zip code that you move into, that is the amount of voucher you will get. I think that is a form of gentrification." 

There is more financial assistance available to those who wish to move outside of the Tampa's city limits. However, Iman said adequate transportation is another issue that has come up. 

"How are they going to get to and from daycare without a car?" she asked. "How are they going to get to their jobs?"

Iman has had multiple meetings with the Tampa Housing Authority, including with its director, Margaret Jones. 

"She's increasing by 5% the voucher rate, but I don't think that is enough," Iman said, adding that acknowledging and addressing the problem is a good start. 

She plans to continue that dialogue so relocation is as smooth as possible.