State housing advocates on Tuesday gathered in Tallahassee to call on the Florida Legislature to use all state and local housing trust fund monies for affordable housing. The Sadowski Coalition is made up of 32 statewide organizations, including industry and business groups.
Jaimie Ross, president of the Florida Housing Coalition, said that for more than a decade, lawmakers have tapped into Florida's Sadowski Housing Trust Fund to pay for other priorities.
She said lawmakers must return to full funding in order to address the state's affordable housing crisis.
"Once we get back to that norm, we'll be able to reduce the amount of households that are housing instable,” she said. “We will be able to create more workforce housing and address the needs of vulnerable populations that are teetering on homelessness."
According to the Florida Housing Coalition, over the years, the legislature has swept nearly $2.2 billion dollars from the state's affordable housing trust fund.
Ross was joined at the press conference by several other organizations in the Sadowski Coalition, including the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Habitat for Humanity of Florida.
“After meeting with more than 10,000 individuals throughout Florida, as a part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Florida 2030, we found that affordable housing was the one issue that was raised by respondents in every community the Florida Chamber Foundation surveyed,” said Chris Emmanuel, director of infrastructure & governance policy for the Florida Chamber.
In his new budget proposal, Gov. Ron DeSantis preserves all of the affordable housing trust for its intended purpose. Ross says housing advocates are optimistic that the legislature will follow his lead.
"It is something that we haven't seen in a very long time so we're very grateful for Gov. DeSantis showing leadership on this issue."
In addition to calling for full funding, the Florida Housing Coalition on Tuesday released its Florida “Home Matters Report 2019.” Ross said the data contained in the report overwhelmingly supports the full appropriation of housing trust funds for housing.