The Florida Housing Coalition, an NLIHC State Coalition Partner, and advocates across the state won a major budget victory when the 2014-2015 General Appropriations Act was signed into law on June 2. The law allocates $167.7 million of housing trust fund monies for the state and local housing trust fund programs, including $100 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program and $67.7 million for the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program.
SHIP and SAIL are capitalized through funding established by the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act, passed by the Florida Legislature in 1992. The Sadowski Act created a dedicated source of revenue for affordable housing programs based on a documentary stamp tax paid on all real estate transactions. Both SHIP and SAIL play a key role in enabling affordable housing developers to leverage federal resources.
SHIP provides funds to local governments as an incentive to create partnerships that produce and preserve affordable homeownership and multifamily housing. A minimum of 30% of SHIP funds are reserved for households with income at or below 50% of the area median income (AMI).
SAIL provides low-interest loans for affordable multifamily developments, with a minimum of 20% of the units set aside for households with income at or below 50% of AMI. When federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits are used in conjunction with SAIL, a minimum of 40% of the units are set aside for residents with income at or below 60% of AMI.
Following the onset of the recession in Florida in 2007, the Florida Legislature transferred Sadowski Act funds to non-housing uses. In the midst of a “no new tax” political environment, reinforced by the Florida constitution requiring a balanced budget, legislators felt that they had license to raid Sadowski funds even when resources were most needed for affordable housing.
In 2014, the Florida Housing Coalition joined the Sadowski Coalition in calling on the Florida Legislature to use all housing trust fund money for housing. The Sadowski Coalition consists of 25 statewide organizations facilitated by 1000 Friends of Florida. The coalition represents diverse sectors in addition to low income advocates, such as the Chamber of Commerce and construction and real estate industries. With the leadership of State Senators Andy Gardiner (R) and Joe Negron (R), the Sadowski Coalition secured full utilization of Sadowski Act funds for housing purposes.
“The housing trust fund appropriations are cause to celebrate in terms of the critically needed housing assistance they provide to low income individuals and families. In authorizing these appropriations, the Florida Legislature has also demonstrated their understanding of the need to use Florida’s dedicated revenue source for housing to fund its very effective housing programs,” said Jaimie Ross, President of the Florida Housing Coalition and Affordable Housing Director of 1000 Friends of Florida. The appropriation marks the highest level of funding for Sadowski housing trust fund programs in seven years.
For more information, contact Jaimie Ross, Florida Housing Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org.