FPI welcomes a new policy analyst to focus on housing and community development.
Florida has one of the most severe affordable housing crises in the nation. We have more cost-burdened renters than any other state, and declining a stock of affordable housing units. The rise in low-wage jobs coupled with limited affordable housing means that many Floridians are having to make impossible choices between paying rent and other priorities, like buying groceries and seeking medical care. Households of color tend to face these challenges more acutely.
Investing in affordable housing development has ripple effects throughout the economy, creating good-paying jobs, increasing the financial well-being of households, and generating revenue for the state. The Sadowski Housing Trust Fund is the state’s only vehicle for making long-term investments in affordable housing development. However, over the past few decades, funding slated for the trust fund has instead been diverted toward other purposes, forgoing tens of thousands of much-needed affordable housing units.
Years of funding “sweeps” — when the Legislature diverts dollars slated for the fund to use for other purposes — have undermined the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund. Lawmakers have swept more than $2 billion from the trust fund into the General Revenue Fund to support other appropriations. The Florida Housing Coalition estimates that these sweeps resulted in 94,000 foregone affordable housing units.
Expanding affordable housing is critical for meeting the needs of Florida’s current and future population. The Sadowski Housing Trust Fund was established as a mechanism to invest in the preservation and development of affordable housing, but the two-decade legacy of diverting funds for other uses has resulted in thousands of foregone housing units and a persistently tight housing market for low-income households. In order to alleviate the housing cost burden and make affordable housing more accessible, the state must commit to fully funding the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund.