On behalf of hard-working families, seniors, veterans, those experiencing homelessness and those with special needs throughout the state, the Florida Senate and House of Representatives took a positive step this week.
Together, both chambers came to an agreement on funding for affordable housing, recommending that $214.1 million be appropriated from Florida’s housing trust funds toward affordable housing.
The Sadowski Coalition is thankful for all the hard work that the Senate and House have put into this budget. We applaud them for coming to agreement on this vital issue that affects Floridians in all corners of the state, while also including more than $5.2 million for homeless and other housing projects.
Florida is in desperate need of affordable housing. Florida has become the nation’s toughest state for renters, with California and New York trailing closely behind, according to the “Make Room” report by Enterprise Community Partners. Florida has the largest share of renters – 31 percent – who spend more than half of their income on housing.
Moreover, more than 950,000 very low-income households are forced to spend more than 50 percent of their income on housing, according to the 2016 Florida Home Matters Report by the Florida Housing Coalition. They are essentially one missed paycheck or one unexpected crisis away from homelessness.
All of Florida’s housing trust funds should be used for the benefit of Floridians in need of a home. Through this allocation, the Legislature has the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of at-risk and low-income Floridians. The assurance of having a home creates stability and dignity for everyone.
We look forward to working with members of the Legislature to ensure that affordable housing funding remains intact and ultimately passes as part of the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget.
Jaimie Ross is the facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition, and the president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition. For more information on the Sadowski Coalition, please visit SadowskiCoalition.com. Column courtesy of Context Florida.