August 29, 2018

Amendment 5 Would Exacerbate Florida's Affordable Housing Crisis

This post was last updated on December 8, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Housing affordability drives individual economic security and mobility and creates the foundation for a robust and vibrant economy. 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 Affordable Housing Trust Fund is the state’s only vehicle for making long-term investments in affordable housing development. However, over the past 15 years, funding slated for the trust fund has instead been diverted toward other purposes, forgoing tens of thousands of much-needed affordable housing units.

On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would make generating resources to meet the needs of Florida’s families, communities and economy much harder. The measure would require a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to approve any new state revenues, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other such expenditures.  

Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while cutting funds for affordable housing development. Amendment 5 locks in these failed priorities before the state has a chance to recover from deep cuts following the Great Recession and a supermajority requirement would likely require huge funding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida’s future.

Florida is Facing a Housing Affordability Crisis

Over the past few decades, Florida’s shortage of affordable housing has increased, resulting in the highest share of cost-burdened renters of any state (54.1 percent).While job growth has increased in Florida since the Great Recession, many households have yet to benefit from any of the resulting economic gains. Household incomes in 2015 were $5,630 less than they were in 2007 (adjusted to 2016 dollars). In 2016, 1 in 5 Floridians were paid at or below $10 per hour, the highest share of low-wage workers in 11 years. Between 2005 and 2016, 44.5 percent of all new employment — almost half of all jobs created — paid low wages.

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