For Immediate Release
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Florida “Home Matters Report 2017” Data Supports Full Appropriation of Housing Trust Funds for Housing
Tallahassee, 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.
During the press conference, the Florida Housing Coalition, a Florida statewide nonprofit provider of training and technical assistance, released its Florida “Home Matters Report 2017.” The data contained in the report overwhelmingly supports the full appropriation of housing trust funds for housing. The national “Home Matters” initiative is an effort to educate the public and policymakers about the connection between housing, health, education and the economy.
In summary, this year’s “Home Matters Report,” found the following:
- More than 910,000 very low-income Florida households – which include hardworking families,seniors and people with disabilities – pay more than 50 percent of their incomes on housng ;and,
- Florida has the third-highest homeless population of any state in the nation, with approximately 34,000 people living in homeless shelters and on the streets, including 2,902 veterans and 6,140 children.
“On the 25th anniversary of the William E. Sadowski Affordable Housing Act, the Sadowski Coalition joins in honoring Bill Sadowski’s legacy by urging the Florida Legislature to make the most of this opportunity to create jobs and massive economic benefit, while helping their constituents avoid homelessness, find affordable rentals or realize the dream of homeownership,” said Jaimie Ross, president and CEO of the Florida Housing Coalition, and facilitator of the Sadowski Coalition. “If Florida’s housing trust funds are used for Florida’s housing programs in Fiscal Year 2017-18, it will help Floridians, from homeless families and veterans to the lower-paid professional workforce – the entire continuum of Floridians in need of housing assistance. Appropriation of the projected $292.37 million in dedicated revenue this year will create nearly 29,000 jobs and produce a positive economic benefit of more than $3.78 billion in our state, while creating homes that will last far into the future.”
“Since the purchase of my home, I have gone from being a dispatcher to becoming a local law enforcement officer, with the rank of sergeant,” said Anitra Highland, law enforcement and a SHIP recipient, at the press conference. “Owning my own home gave me the stability that enabled me to be successful as a mother, as a first-responder in the workforce and as a member of my community. It is an honor and pleasure to give back to the City of Tallahassee through my work as a law enforcement officer, role model and parent. I want others to have those same opportunities as I had. I truly hope the Florida Legislature will use the housing trust funds for housing so others can get the hand-up that they need to be successful too.”
“Having a healthy, affordable place to call home is the foundation of our lives and the basis of strong local economies,” said George Romagnoli, community development director of the Pasco County Community Development Department and Florida Housing Coalition board chairman. “But, we don’t have enough decent, safe, affordable housing in Florida. Fully appropriating Sadowski Housing Trust Fund monies for housing is one of the best policy decisions we can make at this critical moment, when Florida’s families and the overall economy are still climbing toward recovery from the Great Recession.”
“When we encourage businesses and employers outside of Florida to come here, they want to be assured that there will be enough affordable housing for their employees and their families,” said Brewster Bevis, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for Associated Industries of Florida. “Fully funding the state’s affordable housing programs enhances our state’s workforce and business climate. We must have an amply supply of affordable housing if we want to continue to be one of the best places to do business in the nation.”
“Of all low-income, cost-burdened households in Florida, more than 570,000 are headed by adults, age 65 or older,” said Dorene Barker, associate state director of advocacy for AARP Florida. “Older adults are one of Florida’s most vulnerable populations and finding an affordable place to live safely and independently is a vital component of maintaining their quality of life. But, we, as a state, can make it possible for older adults to live safely, independently and affordably, while saving the state money, by fully funding our affordable housing programs.”
“Florida Realtors is proud to be a long-standing member of the Sadowski Coalition,” said Carrie O’Rourke, vice president of public policy for the Florida Realtors. “On behalf of our more than 165,000 members, we urge the Legislature to help Florida’s first-time homebuyers, hardworking families and our economy by allocating trust fund monies this session for housing programs.”
The Sadowski Coalition is a diverse collection of 30 statewide organizations, including industry groups, such as the Florida Realtors and Florida Home Builders Association; business groups, including Associated Industries of Florida and the Florida Chamber of Commerce; advocates for affordable housing providers, including the Florida Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; low-income advocates, including the Florida Coalition for the Homeless and Florida Legal Services; advocates for the elderly and veterans, including Florida AARP and Florida Veterans Foundation; and faith-based groups, including the Florida Conference of Catholic Bishops, Florida Impact and Habitat for Humanity.