Florida could expect to see around $1.5 billion for affordable housing in the coming fiscal year.
The House and Senate have agreed to boost state affordable housing dollars north of $200 million. And with incoming federal funds, the total level for affordable housing could approach that $1.5 billion mark, according to House infrastructure budget chief Jayer Williamson.
Florida can expect to initially get between $600 million to $800 million on affordable housing, he said. Florida also tends to get additional federal funds on top of that when other state’s decline funding.
“You’re looking (at) almost … $1.5 billion that goes into affordable housing when you take the state and the federal funding,” Williamson said. “I think we’re in a good spot and we’ll just keep working.”
Lawmakers had initially agreed to provide $141 million in state funds for affordable housing based on a deal to consistently split documentary stamp tax dollars from year to year. But after complaints from affordable housing groups and nudging from the Governor’s Office, legislative leaders increased that proposal to $200 million with an altered deal (SB 2512).
The Senate’s offer Saturday morning included a combined $209 million. Approximately $63 million would go to affordable housing programs, and $147 million would go to the State Housing Initiatives partnership program, known as SHIP.
“We felt like we were a little light for my housing, and we wanted to bear down on it,” said Williamson’s Senate counterpart, George Gainer. “It means that we, you know, we are more aware of it. We’re trying very hard to catch up in that area.”
Democrats had opposed Republican leadership’s deal on affordable housing because it locked in that section at a lower floor than the Legislature had intended when it created the affordable housing trust fund in 1992. However, leadership altered the deal, lowering environmental funding portions of it while increasing affordable housing funding.
“I think it’s great. That’s good compared to what we’ve had over the last 10, 15 years, probably the second or third most that’s been appropriated in the last nine years,” Williamson said, referring to the more than $200 million set aside for housing.
“I know that people always want more money, and I get that, but I think that’s a really good number for now as we move forward,” he added.
Lawmakers have agreed to put $252.5 million in general revenue toward the transportation, tourism and economic development portion of the budget. The Senate is also requesting $13.5 billion in trust fund expenditures. That total comes out to $13.7 billion in the Senate’s latest offer for the silo.