By Scott Powers  |  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. That compares with the full $387 million allocation proposed in the Senate. Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s proposed budget also calls for the full $387 million allocation available from the trust fund.

The House is preparing to vote for the budget proposal that sweeps some of the money set aside in the Sadowski trust fund to use for things like teacher salary increases. Democrats in the House still hope to find a way to avoid raiding that fund, but their real hope may be in the budget reconciliation process with the Senate’s budget.

“Given the affordable housing crisis in Florida, we believe there is no reasonable basis to divert revenue collected for the Sadowski Fund to other causes. Affordable housing is far more than what some perceive as ‘just government-subsidized shelter,’” Demings, Murphy, and Soto wrote.

Various bills, including HB 381 from Democratic Rep. David Silvers of Lake Clarke Shores and Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew of Winter Haven, have sought to prevent non-housing raids on the Sadowski fund and have drawn bipartisan backing.

The trio of federal lawmakers represents an area, Central Florida, where the affordable housing shortage has been acute to the point of crisis. Statewide the issue has been worst in urban areas.

“As you know, Florida has a severe shortage of affordable housing and nowhere is the problem more acute than the Central Florida region,” Demings, Murphy, and Soto wrote. “There are simply not enough affordable homes to buy or apartments to rent for the are’s growing population.”

Article last accessed here on February 17, 2020. A print-ready version is available here.