Florida Realtors has begun to advocate for using state and local government housing trust funds for the use it was originally intended, to provide affordable housing. The movement is in response to legislative proposals that would reduce the amount of available funding for affordable housing by more than 66%, the release states. The funds would then be diverted to other projects, like environmental infrastructure.
“Nearly 30 years ago, Realtors® worked with members of the legislature to place a new tax on our industry that would help create a dedicated funding source for Florida’s growing affordable housing needs,” Cheryl Lambert, 2021 president of Florida Realtors and broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness, said in the release. “We did this because we saw the escalating problem and we wanted to be part of the solution. The issue has only intensified as our population has grown, and diverting hundreds of millions of dollars away from these critical programs will make the situation worse.”
Currently, the money for the housing fund comes from a portion of the documentary stamp tax charged on real estate transactions. Still, the legislature has been using those funds for different budget priorities. In the meantime, the most essential workers in the community are being left out when it comes to affordable housing, during this crucial time of the pandemic.