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New Ballot Initiative Seeks To Permanently Fund Affordable Housing

Floridians for Affordable Housing sponsors the bill.
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Posted at 10:39 PM, Jul 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-14 22:39:47-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. — Affordable housing is in high demand, so we are following a Florida group that hopes to redirect money to make more affordable housing available.

The Floridians for Housing political action committee is sponsoring a citizen’s initiative that could permanently secure funding for affordable housing.

Diana Jones works for the Lee County Housing Authority and says families here are in dire need.

“I’ve had some that say you wouldn’t understand, but I do understand because I am a single mother. I’ve had the same struggles, so I do know what they are going through,” she said. “But I also know how to help them get past it, so they can experience that better future for themselves and for their children.”

The Housing Authority waitlist filled up several months ago according to Jones. Other local resources are also pretty full.

The initiative could help these programs by adding a 1992 Sadowski Act housing trust fund into Florida’s Constitution. It also prevents the funds from being used for other purposes. Here’s a breakdown on how it works according to Florida Realtors:

• One-hundred percent of funds (generated by the documentary stamp taxes on real estate transactions as passed into law by the Sadowski Act in 1992) will go to support the state’s housing programs as was the original intent under the Sadowski Act.

• Twenty-five percent of net revenues from the existing tax on documents to affordable housing.

• Funds will only be used to address affordable housing access and availability, including funding of programs addressing new construction, down payment and closing cost assistance, rehabilitation, and financing for affordable housing development.

The Florida Realtors trade association created Floridians for Housing political action committee to undo Senate Bill 2512. The bill was passed earlier this year and permanently cuts in half the amount of funding from the affordable housing trust.

Mike McGraw is the Vice President of Florida Realtor's and says the legislature has gone too far this time.

“They have swept money out of that trust fund over the last 17 years to the tune of 2.6 billion dollars," he said. "That’s a lot of money that the consumers of Florida the homeowners, our neighbors, future homeowners this was money that they could use to achieve the American dream of home ownership and to help them with rental needs.”

The initiative aims to collect 1 million signatures statewide by Dec. 31 to make it to the next years Nov. 8 election ballot. I’ll have more about this initiative, so stay tuned to FOX 4 NOW.