The Phoenix Flyer

FL House budget plan shifts $240 million in affordable housing funds to other spending needs

By: - January 28, 2020 2:23 pm

A modest foreclosed home in Miami. Photo by Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The Florida House plans another raid on state affordable housing funds in its budget proposal for 2020-21.

In a plan released by the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, the House wants to shift some $240 million out of the housing programs to use in other areas of the budget.

It would leave $147 million to be spent on affordable housing programs, including $73.2 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership. SHIP distributes money to cities and counties to help low- and moderate-income Floridians obtain housing through new construction, down-payment assistance, home repairs, and other programs.

The House would spend another $48.8 million on a program to help build more affordable apartment units in the state. And the proposal includes $25 million for affordable housing programs in hurricane-damaged counties.

However, the House decision to use another $240 million in housing funds in other areas of the budget stands in contrast to the Florida Senate and Gov. Ron DeSantis – both support plans to fully fund the affordable-housing programs.

In his $91.4 billion budget proposal, DeSantis called for $387 million in affordable housing funding, including $267 million for the SHIP program and $120 million for the affordable apartments program.

This year’s House budget includes $200 million for the affordable housing programs, but also reflects a shift of another $125 million in housing funds to other areas of the budget.

Over the last two decades, lawmakers have swept more than $2 billion from the housing programs, which are funded by a portion of the real-estate tax on property sales, to other spending priorities. Advocates continue to call for full funding for the programs, citing Florida’s critical housing needs.

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Lloyd Dunkelberger
Lloyd Dunkelberger

Lloyd Dunkelberger has been covering Florida government for over three decades. He’s reported and edited in Tallahassee for the New York Times Regional Newspapers group, Florida Politics, and the News Service of Florida. He grew up in Jacksonville and Palm Beach County and got his journalism degree at the University of Florida.