August 29, 2018

Florida's Severe Affordable Housing Shortage Would Worsen Under Amendment 5, According to New Brief

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.

Florida already ranks 44th in share of affordable housing for vulnerable families

LAKE MARY, FLWhen Florida families have access to necessities — groceries, transportation and affordable housing — the economic benefit resonates throughout communities and the entire state. Unfortunately, the Sunshine State ranks near the bottom when it comes to safe, decent and affordable housing options, a situation that would be made even more dire under Amendment 5. This is the central finding of a new policy brief by the nonpartisan Florida Policy Institute.

On November 6, voters in Florida will decide on a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to raise state revenues, taxes and fees and eliminate tax breaks and loopholes.

The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund is the state’s only vehicle for making long-term investments in affordable housing development. However, funding slated for the trust fund has instead been diverted toward other purposes, forgoing tens of thousands of much-needed affordable housing units. This issue would be exacerbated under Amendment 5, which would prioritize special interests over investment in public services.

The brief summarizes Florida’s landscape with respect to housing affordability, noting that:

  • The state’s minimum wage workers would have to put in 84-hour weeks to afford a 1-bedroom rental at fair market rent.
  • There are only 26 affordable and available housing units for every 100 extremely low-income households.

“We have the potential to make Florida a state in which everyone can find a decent, affordable place to call home,” said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Institute. “But this isn’t going to happen overnight– it requires thoughtful investment in things like affordable housing, something that will be impossible if Amendment 5 becomes law. Florida’s already poor ranking on various measures of well-being will become much worse if this ballot measure passes.”

“Florida has one of the most severe affordable housing crises in the nation, with not nearly enough rental options for the low income workforce and our most vulnerable residents,” said Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition. “We need to avoid additional excuses for raiding the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds. A constitutional amendment limiting the Legislature’s ability to raise revenue could easily lead to diversion of housing trust fund monies to the detriment of Florida’s families and our entire economy.”

The Florida Policy Institute’s mission is to advance state policies and budgets that improve the economic mobility and quality of life for all Floridians.

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