Advocacy Articles

2013 Legislative Wrap Up

The Senate and House reached agreement on the budget in the first week of May. Unfortunately, they agreed that the state and local housing trust funds would not be used for housing. The Appropriations Act swept all $204.13 million available for appropriation in the Housing Trust Funds into General Revenue. The good news is that housing programs,including SHIP and SAIL, were funded by the legislature in 2013—they used the Attorney General Bank Settlement Funds to do it. Click here to read the entire 2013 Legislative Wrap Up article.

NIMBYism: Overcoming Community Opposition to Affordable Housing

The Not in My Backyard syndrome (NIMBYism) connotes objections made to the siting of affordable housing for reasons such as fear and prejudice. This is in contrast to objections over the real threat of an incompatible neighboring use, such as the siting of a hazardous waste facility near a residential area.

NIMBYism presents a particularly pernicious obstacle to producing affordable housing. Local elected officials are regularly barraged by the outcry of constituents with concerns over the siting and permitting of affordable housing. Consequences of NIMBYism include lengthy, hostile, and unpleasant public proceedings; frustrated consolidated plan implementation; increased costs of development; property rights disputes; and an inability to meet local housing needs. There are tools advocates can use to avoid or overcome these object.

2012 Legislative Wrap Up

The Sadowski Coalition was only “close” to success this session, if success is measured solely in appropriation levels. However in a greater sense, the real success of our efforts will be found in the results of future legislative sessions. This is a multi-year project and is designed to educate legislators on housing issues which will ultimately lead to positive outcomes. We are making progress and have increased our legislative impact.

Housing Trust Funds: Getting Ready for the Florida 2012 Legislative Session

The Florida Housing Coalition is advocating for the appropriation of housing trust fund monies to housing programs. While the Florida legislature acknowledges the excellence in Florida’s programs, such as SHIP and SAIL, the issue of appropriation for the majority in legislative leadership comes down to whether there is a budget deficit. If there is a budget deficit, the money in the housing trust funds is likely to be swept into general revenue.The Sadowski Coalition and the membership of the Florida Housing Coalition have been doing their level best to explain that when housing trust fund monies are used for housing that investment helps us out of the ongoing deficit. Florida is highly dependent upon sales tax revenue. Putting housing trust fund money into housing would raise sales tax revenue as the unemployed go back to work in the construction industry, buying materials to refurbish homes and having their own money to buy goods and services. This is in addition to the sales revenues generated by the buyers of the refurbished homes who purchase appliances and furnishings. Whether these truths will make a difference is hard to say. The current environment in Tallahassee is one of cutting taxes and spending rather than raising revenue, closing tax loopholes and making strategic investments.

2011 Legislative Wrap Up

Campaign to Repeal Cap Comes to Successful Conclusion

The landmark William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act, passed in 1992, created a dedicated revenue source by increasing the documentarystamp tax paid on real estate transactions and directing that revenue into Florida’s state and local housing trust funds to support housing programs such as SHIP and SAIL. Beginning in 2007, a cap went into effect which statutorily redirected the doc stamp money intended for housing into general revenue, so that once $243 million had flowed into the housing trust funds all additional monies would automatically be diverted away from housing.

Smart Growth and Affordable Housing At Odds? That Depends

The desirability of traditional neighborhood design, with its compact mix of housing types, walkable neighborhoods, and town centers, has been financially beneficial to developers, builders, and real estate professionals engaged with smart growth1 communities in Florida. At the national level, smart growth and sustainable development enjoys the embrace of an interagency partnership for affordable housing, the environment, and transportation.2 Nonetheless, smart growth has its detractors and some of those are arguing that smart growth is bad for affordable housing. Even in progressive Seattle, there is a coalition of advocates against the displacement of poor people who maintain that smart growth is at odds with affordable housing.

Just Released: FY 2010 Income Limits

HUD has released the estimated median family incomes (MFIs) and income limits for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010. MFIs are used as the basis for income limits in several HUD programs (including the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, CDBG, and HOME programs), as well as in programs run by the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Government Sponsored Enterprises.

Economic Benefits of Sadowski Housing Trust Fund Monies

Florida is beginning to recover from a severe economic downturn, which has resulted in a drop in doc stamp and other revenues. Although for-sale housing costs have retreated from all-time highs, the median priced home in Florida is still unaffordable to a large and growing segment of our citizens – including the workers who fill the critical service industry jobs which are essential to Florida. These workers most often need affordable rental housing, the demand for which is strong and growing.

Congress Will Conside Major Changes in Low Income Housing Programs

The Florida Housing Coalition is a member of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and with the NLIHC, keeps the Florida Congressional Delegation abreast of housing conditions in Florida. As the new year opens and Congress returns to Washington, there are several major legislative initiatives affecting very low income and extreme low income tenants, which will likely be considered, among them funding the National Housing Trust Fund, significant changes to the Housing Choice voucher program, and new public housing preservation and redevelopment proposals.

Why Fund Florida’s Housing Programs in 2010

Housing is Key to Economic Recovery: Housing = Jobs

Total Economic Impact – Multiplier Effect: For every $1 million of state funding, $7.66 million of economic activity is generated. As part of that economic activity, each $1 million of state funding generates more than $2.98 million of earnings/income.

Job Creation: For every $1 million of state funding, 77 jobs are created.

Seizing Opportunities – Green Affordable Rental Housing

In 2006, the Florida Affordable Housing Study Commission urged the adoption of a comprehensive statewide affordable housing preservation strategy. Since then, Florida has made progress towards creating a policy environment that supports preserving and improving the state’s affordable rental homes. Notably, this progress has included the creation of a preservation set aside in the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit program administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

Legislative Wrap-Up

The last edition of the Housing News Journal focused on the essential role that affordable housing plays in Florida’s economic recovery. Our two priority issues for the 2009 legislative session were repeal of the cap on the trust funds and appropriation of the housing trust fund monies for housing. The Florida Housing Coalition, the Sadowski Workforce Housing Coalition, and housing advocates around the state made the case that to accelerate economic recovery and avert the imminent increase in homelessness caused by the recession, we needed to restore the state and local housing trust funds.

Advent of Form-Based Codes

An entrance road leading to large single family lots of equal size on roads with cul-de-sacs in a subdivision with one way in and one way out. That’s a pretty typical suburban development in Florida, and there are certainly families who enjoy that lifestyle. But a growing number of Floridians do not. They are looking for a more urban environment in which large privately owned green space gives way to public parks, and compact residential development is in walking distance to shops and community activities. This is the move from sprawl to smart growth. It is the move from Euclidian zoning to form based zoning.