Sammy R. Alzofon
Affordable Housing Issue Group
sammy.alzofon@gmail.com

Sadowski Act state and local housing trust funds were the focus of advocacy work all over the state, from the adjournment of last year’s legislature until the close of this year’s. As the legislature convened, the Senate, as last year, recommended full funding. The surprise was the same recommendation from the Governor’s Office. Full funding means the use of all the documentary stamp tax funds allocated for the Sadowski trust fund be used for housing, this year $331,000,000. Since 2001 the legislature has taken two billion trust fund dollars for other purposes, with more than $125 million to be taken this year. The House initially recommended no allocations at all, reserving all appropriated funds for Hurricane Michael-struck counties. The long delay in the distribution of federal disaster dollars is reflected in the final Hurricane Michael funding, estimated to be $115,000,000 in housing trust funds, in addition to normal allocations:

SHIP funds distributed to all counties to fund housing programs $ 46,560,000 est.
SAIL funds distributed through the Florida Housing Finance Corporation $ 39,040,000 est.
to incentivize apartment construction throughout the state

Detailed information on state and local housing trust funds is at: http://www.flhousing.org/sadowski-affiliates/

What’s next? The solution is political. We’ll work again to pass legislation that would prevent the “sweeping” of housing trust funds into general budget coffers. There are growing numbers of advocates for affordable housing here in Palm Beach County and across the state. Many groups, public offices, organizations, are working on their own aspects of the housing shortage, sometimes replicating one another’s work, sometimes working in parallel with another organization, but there is no umbrella group to bring everyone together to communicate with each other. A nascent effort to create that umbrella organization is in the works. Our League issue group is working with a statewide North Pinellas County League effort that we hope to begin after a housing issue is approved at the Florida State Convention next month. We’re also working with newly-formed Faith in Action and remain a member of the Housing Task Force, continuing to monitor state and local efforts to alleviate the acute housing shortage.

Housing emergency in the Florida Panhandle
Florida Housing Board Approves New Rental Housing Funding for Hurricane Michael Impacted Counties

TALLAHASSEE, FL— The Florida Housing Finance Corporation (Florida Housing) Board of Directors approved the funding of seven newly-constructed rental developments that will provide over 200 units of affordable housing in counties ravaged by the storm. The more than $30 million investment will be made using federal Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funding and include developments in Bay (3), Gulf (2), Jackson and Wakulla counties. For more information, visit www.floridahousing.org.

And an Orlando Sentinel op-ed on the Panhandle crisis:
https://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/guest-commentary/os-op-low-income-housing-trump-response-201