EDITORIALS


Republicans are gutting Florida’s housing fund again. Gov. DeSantis should stop them | Editorial

April 14, 2021 | Bradenton Herald

Florida lawmakers have been raiding the state’s affordable housing fund for so long, they’ve decided to drop the pretense and alter the law to fit their own twisted reasoning. That’s what’s happening in Tallahassee now, where legislators have been siphoning money from the state’s housing trust fund to pay for other budget items for 18 years, housing advocates say.

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This is no time to raid affordable housing funds

April 7, 2021 | The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Here’s the bottom line: Florida’s need for affordable housing options will grow in the coming years. By a lot. And with the real estate market revving up, the stock of housing that’s affordable for middle-income Floridians — young teachers, police officers, nurses and the like — is slipping out of reach, putting them in the same desperate bind that already burdens Florida’s legions of lower-paid hospitality, retail and restaurant employees.

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EDITORIAL: Stealing from Sadowski fund happening again

April 1, 2021 | Your Sun

The Florida Legislature is all but sure to once again raid the Sadowski Trust Fund to shortchange counties on money that can be used to build affordable housing. Lawmakers in Tallahassee, year after year, just can’t keep their hands off money that is ticketed for the Sadowski Trust Fund to help build more affordable housing in Florida.

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EDITORIAL: Study shows need to protect Sadowski funds

March 27, 2021 | Venice Gondolier

A new study should prove to Florida’s Legislature why they should keep their hands off Sadowski funds — the state’s bank account for affordable housing. The William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act was established in 1992.

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Takeaways from Tallahassee — On the radio

March 27, 2021 | Florida Politics

Legislature strikes infrastructure and housing deal — The latest deal struck between legislative leaders is a proposal to two-thirds of split documentary stamp taxes intended to fund affordable housing between combating sea level rise and distributing wastewater grants.

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Florida lawmakers look to cut affordable housing money — again

March 25, 2021 | Tampa Bay Times

The plan would take two-thirds of affordable housing money for other uses. Despite soaring rents and housing prices across Florida, Republican legislative leaders want to permanently divert money for affordable housing to water and environmental projects.

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Sixty Days for 3.25.21 — A prime-time look at the 2021 Legislative Session

March 25, 2021 | Florida Politics

The Senate voted 39-1 for a bill (SB 100) repealing a massive toll road expansion that former Senate President Bill Galvano shepherded across the finish line just two years ago. Bill sponsor Sen. Gayle Harrell said the plan, known as M-CORES, was a bold and forward-looking initiative but that lawmakers needed to reevaluate their policy goals.

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Agency cuts coming to light as House starts budget rollout

March 25, 2021 | Florida Politics

State agencies will see large cuts in the infrastructure and tourism section of the state budget. The House Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, under the leadership of Chair Jayer Williamson, on Thursday laid out its proposed $13.6 billion spending plan for the infrastructure and tourism silo, which included significant reductions to agency budgets.

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The bill that can save the housing market

March 18, 2021 | YourObserver

Of all the bills filed this spring in the Legislature, Senate Bill 76 is far and away the session’s most important legislation. Filed by Bradenton Sen. Jim Boyd, SB 76 deals with the mundane subject of property insurance. Here’s the nub of it: If Boyd’s bill passes, it will save Florida’s housing market from collapse — and save Florida’s economy.

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Editorial | Legislation makes sense for those in need

February 20, 2021 | Citrus County Chronicle

In 1992, the state Legislature created the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund, but lawmakers have repeatedly swept those funds into the general revenue pot since the Great Recession. However, Clearwater Republican Sen. Ed Hooper hopes to put a halt to that. He recently filed Senate Bill 510, which would add the state and local government housing trust funds to the list of 10 other trust funds that are “off limits” in most circumstances.

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Bill to protect affordable housing fund receives Senate panel’s OK

February 2, 2021 | Florida Politics

A Senate committee gave its unanimous support Tuesday to a bill that would prevent the state from
redirecting affordable housing dollars except during emergencies. The Legislature created the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 1992, but lawmakers have
repeatedly swept those funds into the general revenue pot since the Great Recession.

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Editorial: Federal and state help needed to avoid a housing crash

October 21, 2020 | Florida Times-Union

A second federal stimulus is badly needed to protect millions of Americans from homelessness and financial devastation. A total of 90 percent of Americans support a second stimulus to help small businesses and employees, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult for the American Hotel & Lodging Association. That broad support includes 92 percent of Democrats and 89 percent of Republicans.

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OP-EDS & LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Guest opinion: Appropriation of Sadowski Trust funds more important than ever now

April 4, 2020 | Florida Today

Housing is healthcare. We have known this for a long time, but never more acutely than now. The full appropriation of Sadowski Trust funds for housing could not have come at a better time. All 67 counties and large cities in Florida have local housing programs, known as the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP), which are funded from the dedicated revenue source for affordable housing created in the 1992 Sadowski Act.

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Preparing for the next decade

December 24, 2019 | The Florida Times Union

Thursday’s Editorial: Florida must prepare for more growth by 2030. The year 2030, slightly more than a decade from now, is just around the corner for the state of Florida. Addressing challenges on a statewide level requires immediate action, an action plan.

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Barbara Glass: Use affordable housing fund as intended

December 11, 2019 | The Gainesville Sun

What is the Sadowski Trust Fund? The fund was enacted in 1992 with bipartisan support to create a dedicated revenue source for affordable housing. It is funded through an addition to the documentary stamp tax on real estate sales.

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Opinion: Finding affordable housing a problem for the ages

July 27, 2019 | Orlando Sentinel

I lived in a bubble growing up in an upper-middle class community outside the beltway in Washington, D.C. It took years — and a move to Orlando — before I realized the day-to-day struggles facing so many people.

That perspective became even clearer when I began working at Habitat for Humanity a decade ago. I learned that there are pockets of Orlando where you drive by people who live in a completely different city than the one we know. We interact with these people every day as they ring up our purchases in retail stores or maybe even teach our kids, but we’re mostly unaware of the challenges they face every minute of every day. The sun may be shining for many of us, but there are people here hidden in that bright daylight. They are invisible to us.

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Opinion: Finding affordable housing a problem for the ages

July 26, 2019 | Naples Daily News

Like many Naples Daily News readers, I enjoyed seeing the July 21st front page which recreated the same page from July 21, 1969 for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Also like many other readers, I noticed that the second biggest story of the day was a low-cost housing shortage in Naples — a story that continues to warrant coverage in the Naples Daily News and other media outlets to this day.

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NEWS ARTICLES


Hillsborough County offering emergency assistance for renters

March 26, 2021 | Fox 13 News

Hillsborough County is offering financial assistance for those having a hard time paying rent due to being impacted by COVID-19. The county says $44 million has been allocated from the CARES Act of 2021 for its new Rapid Response Recovery Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

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County Breakdown of CARES Act Funds for Rental, Mortgage Assistance

August 5, 2020 | Central Florida News 13

Across Central Florida, people are struggling to make ends meet. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the region faced an affordable housing crisis. The National Low Income Housing Coalition in 2019 ranked the Orlando metro area of Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford as the least affordable place in the country to live.

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 5.1.20

May 1, 2020 | Florida Politics

“Florida housing officials take action to curb rent spikes on low-income families” via Josh Solomon and Emily L. Mahoney of the Tampa Bay Times — Florida housing officials filed an emergency rule that penalizes landlords and property managers who raise the rent on low-income tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Florida housing officials take action to curb rent spikes on low-income families

April 30, 2020 | Tampa Bay Times

Officials filed an emergency rule to provide landlords an incentive to hold rent steady a week after the Tampa Bay Times reported rent could go up on more than 210,000 low-income families statewide. Florida housing officials on Wednesday filed an emergency rule that penalizes landlords and property managers who raise rent on low-income tenants during the coronavirus pandemic.

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HUD & Congressman fire back at companies thinking about increasing affordable housing rent

March 19, 2020 | WESH 2 News

WESH 2 NEWS continues to investigate affordable housing rent increases during the coronavirus pandemic. We spoke with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a local Congressman, both of whom had strong words for companies considering increases. Thursday WESH 2 News told you about Catherine Simon, who lives at an apartment complex in Palm coast, managed by Concord Rents. Congressman Michael Waltz who represents Simon and others in this situation said he did not want to pick sides in this issue, but did offer a remark to those managing properties.

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Winners emerging from the 2020 Legislative Session

April 6, 2020 | FLAPOL

Everyone loves a winner. That’s why we’re doing something different at Florida Politics. Instead of presenting you with a list of winners and losers, we’re focusing only on the winners. We’re not saying there weren’t any losers this year, but in these turbulent times, why should we knock someone for trying and failing, regardless of how the epic the fail. Here’s to the state workers and dietitians, the budget writers and lobbyists, the advocates, and the agitators. The state of Florida salutes you — even if you couldn’t finish the 2020 Legislative Session on time.

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On the Spot: FHC president discusses affordable housing

April 4, 2020 | FHN

The president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition talks about affordable housing and housing assistance during the coronavirus crisis. Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, has been on the front lines fighting for affordable housing for more than two decades. As this week’s On the Spot guest, she talks about achievements during Florida’s 2020 Legislative Session in Tallahassee and the benefits to families and communities across Florida.

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Housing in Jackson County: Housing is healthcare

March 29, 2020 | Jackson County Floridian

The phrase “housing is healthcare” is commonly used in the housing industry to try and explain just how important having safe, decent, and affordable housing is to an individual or family

In a recent interview discussing the impacts of housing, Charles King of Housing Works was quoted. “It’s impossible, under normal circumstances to follow any kind of medication regimen, or healthy diet, or to get proper sleep if you don’t have a home,” King said.

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Thousands in Florida Apply for Rental Assistance During Coronavirus Crisis

March 27, 2020 | Spectrum News – Bay News 9

Florida community service organizations say without major donations, they will likely fall short of providing rental assistance to thousands of families begging for help. Widespread closures and shutdowns have created a surge of layoffs, and in turn, a dramatic increase in the number of families looking for financial assistance.

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Laid-off workers worry about making rent payments; here’s what renters can do

March 27, 2020 | Wink News

Some people who rent their homes and have been laid off are worried about making their rent payments.

One out of every four to five people in Southwest Florida are renters, and right now, keeping a roof over their head is top of mind.

While some property managers and landlords are showing their renters sympathy, others aren’t.

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Housing trust fund emerges intact, a 13-year first

March 19, 2020 | Politico

For the first time in 13 years, Florida’s housing trust fund emerged from the legislative session unscathed, thanks to a unified political alliance and rising pressure from advocacy groups.
The win for housing advocates came even after lawmakers had to tap various programs to build a $300 million reserve to combat the coronavirus pandemic’s hit to the state economy.

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Coronavirus hitting Florida development like ‘an economic hurricane’

March 19, 2020 | Tampa Bay Times

The coronavirus pandemic is hitting Florida’s real estate and construction industry with the destructive force of a hurricane, except maybe worse, because hurricanes usually strike only part of the state. That’s the observation of veteran Tampa attorney Robert Stern, who co-leads the real estate and lending transactions group at Trenam Law.

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For the first time in 13 years, Florida agrees to fully fund affordable housing

March 09, 2020 | Click Orlando

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – For the first time since 2007, the Florida House and Senate have agreed to fully fund the state’s affordable housing trust fund, known as the Sadowski fund. Both chambers have agreed to dedicate the full $370 million dollars to the fund, instead of taking money out to fund other projects like in year’s past.

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Budget conference: Lawmakers won’t sweep affordable housing fund

March 8, 2020 | Florida Politics

Legislative budget chairs said affordable housing funds will not be swept as has been the case in recent years. And then the House and Senate agreed on the biggest budget number for the fund in years. The Governor and Senate each wanted $387 million for the Sadowski Trust Fund while the House sought just $144 million.

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Florida state representatives are fighting for affordable housing funding

March 5, 2020 | Click Orlando

Florida State Rep. Carlos Guillermo-Smith (D-Orlando) says finding solutions to fight Central Florida’s affordable housing crisis is a priority in Tallahassee right now.
The state lawmaker said that in reaction to seeing a story about a single father of four struggling to find affordable housing.

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Senate approves budget, tees up negotiations with house

February 14, 2020 | Florida Politics

The Senate unanimously passed its proposed budget Thursday, sending the Legislature to debate over key disparities. Changes adopted Wednesday morning to the Senate’s proposed $92.8 billion budget were enough for Senators, who Thursday patted each other on the back for a job well done.

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 2.14.20

February 14, 2020 | Florida Politics

The House and Senate passed their budgets with unanimous votes, sending the Legislature to debate over key disparities in their $91 billion-plus spending plans. But the squabbling over differences can wait until next week. For now, lawmakers are patting each other on the back for what has so far been a remarkably non-turbulent Legislative Session.

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Orlando’s congressional delegation objects to raid on Sadowski fund

February 14, 2020 | Florida Politics

Orlando’s three members of Congress have penned a letter to Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva urging him to stop a proposed raid on the William Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Democratic U.S. Reps. Val Demings of Orlando, Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, and Darren Soto of Kissimmee wrote to Oliva and House Minority Leader Kionne McGhee late Wednesday objecting to state House plans to provide only $144 million in the 2020 budget for affordable housing.

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Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics

January 13, 2020 | Florida Politics

“Here’s what Tampa Bay leaders are watching for during the 2020 Legislative Session” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — This year, local governments are eyeing funding projects for museums, hospitals and other amenities as well as legislation that supports building new infrastructure, preserving and honoring remains lost in abandoned cemeteries and preserving funding intended for affordable housing that has for years been pilfered by other projects. The city of Tampa’s top budget priorities this session includes protecting the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund. For years lawmakers have been raiding the fund to pay for other state projects, leaving affordable housing initiatives lacking funding that should have gone to those projects. The city of St. Pete also lists preserving Sadowski as a top priority.

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Housing in Jackson County: An overview of SHIP

Jan 13, 2020 | Jackson County Floridan

This article will be a brief overview of the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP) and in the second installment in a continuing series of articles provided by the local government’s Jackson County Housing Division.

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After Sentinel’s Laborland series, Central Florida legislators support using hotel taxes for housing and public transit

January 9, 2020 | Orlando Sentinel

Central Florida lawmakers are calling for the pot of local tourism taxes — nearly $300 million in Orange County last year — to be used to help solve challenges faced by low-wage tourism workers in light of the Orlando Sentinel’s Laborland series that detailed the region’s affordable housing crisis and failing public transportation system.

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Jacksonville’s homelessness-prevention nonprofit seeking volunteers for census

January 8, 2020 | The Florida Times-Union Jacksonville

Every January, Changing Homelessness, the lead homelessness-prevention agency for Clay, Duval and Nassau counties, takes part in a nationwide census and survey of the homeless population. The information collected “is used to help assess how we are doing as a community, and as a nation, to address the needs of people experiencing homelessness,” according to the nonprofit.

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Their teen daughter sleeps in the living room. How America’s worst affordable housing shortage is hurting tourism workers

December 10, 2019 | Orlando Sentinel

Diego Henry makes the final adjustments to his white and khaki Toy Story Land uniform in the glow of the television before dawn. He stands in the crowded space where his family will eat dinner around a coffee table at night. The same small room is also where he whispers to his wife, Kimberly, about bills they may not be able to pay on time.

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PRESS RELEASES


Housing is Healthcare

March 24, 2020

The full appropriation of Sadowski Trust funds for housing could not have come at a better time. Every SHIP program in Florida will use these funds in response to the COVID-19 crisis. With the Governor’s emergency declaration, the SHIP program administrators are able to activate their disaster strategies and with guidance from the Florida Housing Finance Corporation with the Florida Housing Coalition’s assistance through the Catalyst Program, we have already been helping local communities to respond to housing emergencies, in terms of keeping families out of homelessness by staying in their rental housing and in their homes.

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Sadowski Coalition Statement on the Florida Legislature Fully Funding Affordable Housing

March 7, 2020

Tallahassee, Fla. – The Sadowski Coalition – a nonpartisan collection of 32 statewide organizations – today issued the following statement attributed to Jaimie Ross, facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition and president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, regarding the announcement that the Florida House agreed to the Florida Senate’s budget position to use all affordable housing trust fund monies for affordable housing during the 2020-2021 Fiscal Year.

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Sponsors of Legislation to Stop the Sweep of Affordable Housing Funds Join Sadowski Coalition to Stress Importance of Using All Money in State & Local Housing Trust Funds for Housing

December 9, 2019

Tallahassee, Fla. – Sponsors of legislation – Senate Bill 306 and House Bill 381 – to stop the sweep of funds set aside for affordable housing today gathered alongside the Sadowski Coalition, which is made up of 32 diverse statewide organizations, including industry and business groups; advocates for the elderly, veterans, homeless and special needs; and faith-based organizations, at a press conference to stress the importance of using all money in the state and local housing trust funds for affordable housing – for Fiscal Year 2020-2021.

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Officials: Affordable housing fund is rarely fully funded

October 12, 2019 | State legislators often use the dollars intended for affordable housing programs for other purposes. To the detriment of affordable housing programs in Northwest Florida and the rest of the Sunshine State, the state Legislature earlier this year took another massive bite out of the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

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Sadowski Coalition Calls on Florida Legislature to Use All State & Local Housing Trust Fund Monies for Housing

February 26, 2019

The Sadowski Coalition – made up of 32 diverse statewide organizations, including industry and business groups; advocates for the elderly, veterans, homeless and special needs; and faithbased organizations – today gathered at a press conference to call on the Florida Legislature to use all state and local housing trust fund monies for housing in Fiscal Year 2019-20.

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Governor’s Transition Decision Handbook 2018-19

November 1, 2018 | Florida TaxWatch

Florida TaxWatch released its guide to the next governor this week and “Stopping the Sweeps” is a top issue. “It is important that the new Governor work with legislative leaders to make sure that Sadowski Act funding is used for what it was intended, and not to fill gaps in other budgets or for other spending priorities.”

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Senator Passidomo & Representative Shaw Join to Stop Sweeps of State and Local Housing Trust

November 14, 2017

Fla. – With representatives from the 30 diverse statewide organizations that make up the Sadowski Coalition joining her in front of the Florida Senate Chamber doors in the State Capitol in Tallahassee, State Senator Kathleen Passidomo today announced she has filed bipartisan affordable housing legislation. This legislation, Senate Bill 874, would prohibit the sweep of the State and Local Housing Trust Fund. State Representative Sean Shaw is the sponsor of the House companion bill, House Bill 191.

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Sadowski Coalition Calls on Florida Legislature to Use All State & Local Housing Trust Fund Monies for Housing

March 2, 2017

Fla. – The Sadowski Coalition – made up of 30 diverse statewide organizations, including industry and business groups; advocates for the elderly, veterans, homeless and special needs; and faith-based organizations – today gathered at a press conference to call on the Florida Legislature to use all state and local housing trust fund monies for housing in Fiscal Year 2017-18.

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