Housing News Network, June 2018

Vol. 34, No. 2

From the CEO

Homes for Florida’s workforce earning reasonable incomes at jobs located in unreasonably high cost housing markets. Homes for Florida’s homeless living in cars, encampments, shelters, or woods. Homes that are affordable are needed for hundreds of thousands living somewhere between these two points. The Florida Housing Coalition recently released the 2018 Home Matters Report, an annual report card on housing in Florida, including the nexus between housing and the health of Florida’s economy. An excerpt from Home Matters 2018 is included in this edition of the Journal and the full report will be distributed at our statewide annual conference in August. Conference Registration is open, and we have included highlights of the conference on pages 34-38.

Sadowski State and Local Housing Trust Funds are key to meeting the housing need exposed and explained in the Home Matters Report. We entered the 2018 Legislative Session believing this could be the year that stops the streak of sweeps. The Affordable Housing Workgroup charged with making recommendations for the 2018 session had recommended that all Sadowski funds be used for housing. We created a movement to do so supported by bills filed in the House and Senate to stop the sweeps. But that was not to be the case. More on this in the Legislative Wrap Up article that follows.

Our membership is more engaged than ever in turning this situation around now that it is an election year, with all members of the House up for election and a new Governor to be elected in November. Advancing the example of the Parkland student-led crusade in mind, new energy has been breathed into ensuring that affordable housing is a campaign issue. We have launched a Sadowski Affiliates Workgroup focused on a multifaceted effort that engages younger people to ensure that all housing trust funds are once again used solely for affordable housing, as they were the first ten years of the program. At this year’s statewide annual conference, nuts and bolts training for producing and preserving affordable housing will be complemented with opportunities for participation in caucuses, in workshops, and with networking, and to join in the Our Homes Our Votes campaign, a nonpartisan and nonprofit candidate and voter engagement effort.

The Florida Housing Coalition has been deeply involved in the disaster response for both Irma and Maria. With funding from Fannie Mae, we have held weekly webinars with guest presenters from key state and federal agencies such as DEM, DEO, FHFC, and FEMA, as well as local SHIP Administrators and nonprofits who are providing direct services on the ground. By the time our conference convenes, we should know much more about the tremendous CDBG-Disaster Recovery effort for Florida’s most impacted communities; at the conference, key speakers will provide updates. No matter where you live in Florida, disaster preparation is an essential part of your work as a housing provider or housing advocate.

The Florida Housing Coalition has also been strongly committed to affirmatively furthering fair housing through the consulting work we were doing for local governments in producing the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). While we weather the current administration in Washington, we will assist local governments as they revert to producing the Analysis of Impediments (AI). But this backward policy movement at the federal level will not deter our local government partners who, like us, are committed to making real change in providing housing opportunities for all. We are heartened by the ever-increasing number of jurisdictions who are looking for ways to do a better job in meeting the affordable housing needs of its community. And at our conference in August we will be honored to highlight and showcase many of those communities and the great work they are doing. I look forward to seeing you there.