Housing News Network, March 2017

Vol. 33, No. 1

From the Editor

To fulfill our mission of providing and preserving affordable housing for Florida’s workforce, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those experiencing homelessness, we depend upon public sector incentives to spur private sector development. It is easy for us to make the case that government incentives for the development and preservation of affordable housing are a terrific way of boosting the economy and creating jobs, and that this rising tide does indeed lift all boats.

The most essential program for the development and preservation of affordable housing in the United States is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC )program. The LIHTC program provides a tax credit to income taxpayers, saving them thousands of dollars in taxes and providing the funds/equity to affordable housing developers that enable them to fill the gap between market-rate housing and the restricted rents that make housing affordable for those in need. It has been a Win-Win-Win-Win-Win for government, taxpayers, private sector developers, residents of the LIHTC properties, and finally, the community at large, which is the ultimate beneficiary of much needed affordable housing for the health of its economy.

The affordable housing that is built with the LIHTC program and the HOME program is part of the infrastructure needed for our economy to thrive. The apartments are a long term physical asset and the jobs created in the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing cannot be outsourced. They are American and Florida jobs that pay considerably higher wages than the service sector jobs which are the mainstay of our tourist economy.

The Florida Housing Coalition has historically partnered at the national level with organizations such as the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Housing Trust, and the National Housing Conference, to make the case on Capitol Hill for extending the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, increasing HOME and CDBG appropriations, and increasing tenant based protections and funding for public housing. In this time of political uncertainty, we will redouble our support for those national efforts.

At the same time, our primary focus is at the state level to ensure that our Florida Legislature appropriates all the state and local housing trust fund monies for housing. We will continue to make that our priority. The Sadowski State and Local Housing Trust Funds are our homegrown response for incentivizing the private sector to build and rehabilitate affordable housing in Florida. We will need those funds for Florida’s infrastructure now more than ever if federal tax reform creates a larger gap between the costs of development and the equity that can be raised through the LIHTC program.

The 2017 Home Matters Report, recently released by the Florida Housing Coalition, shows that we are making progress in Florida. We are reducing the number of households that are severely cost-burdened and we are reducing homelessness. The amazing work that Florida’s communities are able to do to build and rehabilitate affordable housing and to move people from the streets into permanent supportive housing is admirable. The state and local housing trust funds that enable our communities to do this is the underpinning for Florida’s success. In this edition of the Housing News Network Journal you will find research from the Florida Policy Institute about the connection between affordable housing and Florida’s economy, excerpts from the 2017 Home Matters Report, and articles that highlight the good work being done throughout Florida to meet housing needs.

We thank all of our Partners for Better Housing, all our members, and all our Legislators who support using all the Sadowski state and local housing trust funds for housing.