August 29, 2018

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

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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