Housing News Network, January 2020

Vol. 36, No. 1

Pre-Session Journal

In this edition of the Journal, we share some highlights from the statewide annual conference, including the showcase of success stories of providing permanent housing for Florida’s workforce, some of whom had been living in cars, shelters, and hotels due to the lack of housing that’s affordable. Every one of these success stories were only possible because of Sadowski SAIL and SHIP funds.

From the CEO

Gratitude is always the theme for the holiday season. And shortly before Thanksgiving, Governor Ron DeSantis gave us much to be thankful for. The Governor again distinguished himself as a leader who gets the importance of using the Sadowski state and local housing trust funds solely for housing. Also, prior to Thanksgiving, we saw companion bills to stop the sweeps in the Senate and the House.

This is the first year that a “Stop the sweeps” bill has been co-introduced by a Republican and a Democrat in the House. We have always maintained that housing is a bipartisan or nonpartisan issue—and we can certainly see that now. We have a Republican Governor supporting full appropriation of the housing trust funds for housing, a Republican Senator sponsoring a bill to stop the sweeps and a Republican Representative with a Democratic Representative jointly sponsoring a bill to stop the sweeps. Could this be the year that breaks the unholy tradition of sweeping trust funds?

Full funding of the trust funds is long overdue and will be celebrated by Floridians in every walk of life. Full funding will be especially meaningful to the nearly 96,000 homeless students in Florida,1 the 2,200 homeless families with children living in shelters, on the streets, or in the woods,2 and the nearly one million households living one crisis away from homelessness because they spend more than half their modest paychecks on housing costs. The housing market is again booming, with prices back to pre-recession levels. And with that comes the attention to the higher income members of the workforce who are priced out. One of the beautiful parts of the SHIP program is the flexibility it provides to meet the local housing need as the real estate market fluctuates.

In this edition of the Journal, we share some highlights from the statewide annual conference, including the showcase of success stories of providing permanent housing for Florida’s workforce, some of whom had been living in cars, shelters, and hotels due to the lack of housing that’s affordable. Every one of these success stories were only possible because of Sadowski SAIL and SHIP funds. We have a reputation for highlighting success stories, that’s what we do. But for every success story, we know there are thousands of families who are not receiving a hand up because a huge amount of the Sadowski monies have been swept and are therefore not available to help them. That reduction in the production and preservation of housing that is affordable costs the families in need as well as our entire economy.
If 2020 could be the year to start a tradition of using all the housing trust funds for housing, that would be a Happy New Year for all.

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