Florida’s affordable housing trust fund emerged unscathed Monday from Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s $1 billion budget slash.
The Sawdoski Trust Fund, a pool of tax dollars intended to support state and local housing programs, was poised to go untouched for the first time in 13 years for a full appropriation of $137 million. But as the COVID-19 pandemic weathered the state’s budget, the legislative milestone faced a 14th consecutive sweep.
The announcement comes as relief for Jamie Ross, CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition.
“While the funding for affordable housing was vetoed from the budget, the Governor’s decision to direct $250 million in CARES Act funding for rental and mortgage assistance shows the Governor continues to prioritize affordable housing in the state,” Ross said. “The veto of SHIP funding means those funds stay in the Local Government Housing Trust Fund.”
Ross added that she is optimistic for the future of the fund.
“We look forward to working with the Governor and the Florida Legislature during the special session which we anticipate in the fall to evaluate whether the SHIP funds can be appropriated at that time,” Ross said. “We will all have a better handle on the state’s housing needs after the CARES Act funds have been deployed. We agree with the Governor that now is the time to focus on deploying the CARES Act funds which need to be expended by the end of December.”
In total, the budget was reduced by veto from $93.2 billion to $92.2 billion.
While the slash is historic in size, it comes as no surprise. In early June, DeSantis issued a vivid warning to Floridians.
“There’s going to be a lot more vetoes. It’ll be a lot of red,” DeSantis warned. “It’s kind of the veto equivalent of the Red Wedding from ‘Game of Thrones.’”