FL Legislature Redirecting Affordable Housing Dollars
March 26, 2021 - Yesterday, Florida House Leadership pushed to redirect two-thirds of the affordable housing dollars in the state's Sadowski Housing Trust Fund during a pandemic where thousands face job loss, economic crisis, and threat of eviction.
Image from the National Low Income Housing Coalition "Out of Reach 2020" Report
TALLAHASSEE, FL - In 2019, one year before the pandemic, the National Low Income Housing Coalition dubbed Central Florida the worst place to live in the country for finding affordable places to live. In 2020, they labled the state 12th in the nation for having a shortage of affordable homes. Despite this, on Thursday, March 25th, 2021 Republican leadership in the Florida House and Florida Senate unveiled a plan to redirect two-thirds of the documentary stamp tax dollars that go to the Sadowski affordable housing trust fund.
Throughout 2020 the Florida Housing Justice Alliance pleased to Governor DeSantis to advocate for housing relief, but these cries were answered with token measures that merely pushed back the inevitable. In January of 2021, Department of Children and Families Secretary Chad Poppell stated in his report to the Florida Senate that 1) the state saw over 40,000 evictions filed in 2020, 2) 1.3 million new Floridians started receiving benefits such as medicaid or food stamps, and 3) the Office of Economic Self-Sufficiency saw a 400% increase in applications. In 2020 of this year the United Way of Florida released its ALICE report stating that 47% of Floridians were either impoverished or facing extreme economic hardship. None of this seems to matter to leadership in the Florida Legislature.
According to the Florida Housing Coalition, "[t]he Florida Legislature enacted the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act in 1992, creating a dedicated revenue source by increasing the documentary stamp tax paid on the purchase price of all residential and commercial deeds." Thus, the purpose of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund is to help provide solutions for Floridians facing a housing crisis. In the last decade, Republican Legislators in Florida have taken over $2.5 billion from the affordable housing fund and used that money to fill budget shortfalls and subsidize tax cuts that benefited the wealthy. This year affordable housing funds are crucial and Florida will be receiving $17 billion in federal funds through the new American Rescue Plan so there is no excuse for GOP leadership to raid the housing trust fund for other projects. Redirecting much needed affordable housing funds is both unneccessary and unethical. It is time for it to stop.
Take Action: Email the entire House of Representatives in Florida and tell legislators to VOTE NO on HB5401 and save affordable housing funds for much needed affordable housing.
MORE ACTIONS: Join Representative Andrew Learned in his push to reach out to the Florida Speaker of the House and Senate President. "Make your voice heard by emailing the House Speaker and the Senate President, demanding the affordable housing fund is used for its intended purposes.
1) Florida ALICE Report - by the United Way of Florida
2) Affordable Housing in Florida - by the Florida Housing Coalition
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