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A Lack Of Affordable Housing In Florida Draws Attention From State Lawmakers

Tom Flanigan

Associated Industries of Florida’s Brewster Bevis says affordable housing is good for both business and the economy.

“Investing in Florida’s affordable housing will go a long way towards fostering stability and economic prosperity in our state. In fact, if lawmakers fully fund the affordable housing program during fiscal year 2019-2020, we will create more than 30,000 Florida jobs and have a positive economic impact of more than 4 billion dollars in the state of Florida," he says. 

Bevis joined housing advocates Tuesday at the Capitol. They want state lawmakers to make good on Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposal to allocate the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund strictly to affordable housing. Throughout the years, the fund has been swept to sponsor other state endeavors.

Habitat for Humanity representative Barbara Beck says her organization builds more homes in Florida than any other state. She says the organization could serve more families if the Sadowski fund is fully appropriated to housing.

“One cornerstone for our success in Florida is the SHIP program. SHIP helps with down payment and closing cost assistance for first time homebuyers, as well as funds for repairing homes. Habitat leverage is the dollars it uses from SHIP with other donations and our volunteer labor. In fact, SHIP is intended to be leveraged… SHIP is not intended to do the entire job," Beck says. 

Florida Housing Coalition president Jaimie Ross says she’s grateful for the governor’s recommendation, but there’s still work to do.

“The House is where we really have our work to do, and that’s what we’re going to be focused on. Working with the House, making the case that we just laid out today -- that using the house trust funds for housing and no other purposes is the wise and the fiscally conservative thing to do," she says.

She also says the coalition is prepared to present Governor DeSantis with a housing champion award in August.