Neighborhood Transformation

Neighborhood Transformation
Housing Funding At Great Risk:
House Considering $284 Million Raid on
Housing Trust Funds

From Florida Housing Coalition Neweletter - January 5, 2009

At the Senate Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee meeting today (January 5, 2009), Senator Fasano (the Chairman) stated that he had information that the House was preparing to propose an additional $284 million cut from the Housing Trust Funds. A cut of this magnitude is not possible without retroactively taking money committed to developers or local governments, but not yet spent, and redirecting it to other programs. What this means, for example, is that a developer who has worked for two or more years on a SAIL development, expending millions of dollars in reliance on their SAIL commitment, could have the funding taken because the loan has not yet closed. These SAIL funded apartments meet the long term needs of very low income Floridians.

Earlier, Senator Fasano stated that the Senate President Jeff Atwater and Senator Fasano had no intentions of sweeping any Housing Trust Fund dollars in the special session.  According to Senator Fasano, he and Senate President Atwater “know how important those dollars are to help getting our economy moving back into the right direction.”

As we stated at that time, budget negotiations involve more than the Senate. The House appears poised to propose deep and dangerous cuts to housing programs, breaking faith with housing providers who have moved forward and expended millions of dollars in reliance upon the commitments for funding given them by the State.

Call to Action - Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Funds

Call and Email House Members Today

 Remember the 2008 Legislative session—when $303 million from the Sadowski funds was appropriated for housing and $250 million from Sadowski funds was swept to general revenue?  That was pretty bad news for housing.  But it could be getting even worse right now. 

 What does that mean? 

 It means that although $303 was appropriated for housing in 2008-09, it may not actually be distributed, and money committed to specific developments in earlier years but not yet spent may be taken despite existing funding commitments.  Monies that program administrators have obligated thinking they were going to receive may never be distributed- that goes for local programs such as SHIP and state programs such as SAIL.

 What should you do?

 Contact 2 key people in the Florida House of Representatives:

House Speaker Ray Sansom

To Email Click Here
Capitol Office Phone: (850) 488-1170
District Office Phone: (850) 833-9328

 Your State Representative in the district office- www.myfloridahouse.com

 What should you say?

Taking money that has already been committed to a specific development is financially irresponsible and helps to destroy the housing industry which needs to be stimulated in order to move the economy out of the tank. No funding cuts should involve monies already committed to specific developments.

Breaking faith with the development community will exacerbate the turmoil in the financial markets that has helped lead to our current economic crash.

New construction is needed for rental housing serving persons below 60% of median income. Except for a few isolated markets, there remains a severe housing shortage for Florida's workers. The housing problem has not been solved because of the short term availability of foreclosed homes.

Taking money from the state and local housing trust funds is not the way to balance Florida’s budget.  Housing money stimulates the economy; 

 We are in an economic crisis— putting people back to work on housing will accelerate Florida’s economy.

We need the construction and other housing related jobs generated by rehabilitating foreclosed multi- family and single family housing.

 This is the time to get people into existing housing stock with down payment and closing cost assistance.

 The federal government gets it—interest rates have never been lower.  Florida needs to get it too—the housing industry needs to be fueled, not starved.

 Let’s accelerate Florida’s economy by using the housing trust fund monies as intended- FOR HOUSING.

 When should you do this?

 NOW. 

 Thank you very much.