Housing News Network, Summer 2022

Vol. 38, No. 1

From the CEO

Full appropriation of Sadowski funding for housing was achieved in the 2022 Legislative session. This is a significant step toward the new normal of no housing trust fund sweeps. This is something to celebrate. But with rents and housing prices doubling and tripling, the housing crisis needs more solutions than full appropriation of Sadowski funding. The Florida Housing Coalition has been urging local governments to use as much of their ARPA funds on increasing the supply of affordable housing as possible. Through our education about the many ways that ARPA funds can be used for affordable housing, we are asking local advocates, county and city administrators, and elected officials to commit as much of their allocations to respond to this housing crisis.

The ARPA funding simply dwarfs SHIP funding. For example, Miami-Dade County’s share of SHIP funding for fiscal year 2022-23 is $10.9 million; Miami-Dade is receiving $528 million in ARPA funds. And ARPA funding will not be seen again. This is an opportunity that must be seized. Inside this edition of the Housing News Journal, we are dedicating six pages to using ARPA funds for housing. Many local governments budgeted ARPA funds before Treasury had made it clear that these funds could be used for almost anything related to affordable housing. Previously adopted plans for expending ARPA funds can and should be revisited by applying this filter: Is this use of ARPA funds addressing a need as pressing as housing?

“Where’s the Housing Supply?” is the overarching question permeating the Florida Housing Coalition’s 2022 Statewide Affordable Housing Conference scheduled for August 29-31st at the Orlando Rosen Centre. The answer to that question can be found in the multitude of sessions on producing and preserving affordable housing. Preserving the housing that is made affordable through subsidies that come in the form of local government contributions of money, land, or land use rights, such as increased density, is paramount. As much as we needed a new normal of no Sadowski sweeps at the state level, we need a new normal of no subsidies without permanent affordability at the local level. Join us for some innovative sessions about preserving affordable housing and right sizing subsidies.

So, what happened to Florida’s housing supply? Nothing bizarre or unpredictable; housing is priced at whatever the market will bear. And in Florida, the market is driven by out-of-state investors and people moving to Florida with money to burn. The Florida workforce and Florida’s most vulnerable populations of the elderly and those with disabilities living on fixed incomes simply cannot afford what those moving to Florida or speculating on Florida’s housing market can afford. It’s market failure; it’s not rocket science.

The demand for affordable housing will never be met while there is a demand for high-end housing unless government and its private sector partners, including large-scale developers and large corporate employers, treat housing akin to infrastructure. The nation, the state, and local jurisdictions do not lack the resources to create and preserve affordable housing; we simply have not historically made housing the priority it deserves to be. We can do things differently in Florida within the existing framework of land use laws; it is just a matter of education and political will. I think Florida’s up to the challenge. What do you think? Let’s talk about it when we get together in person at the conference in August. I hope to see you soon.

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