FL House budget plan shifts $240 million in affordable housing funds to other spending needs

A modest foreclosed home in Miami. Photo by Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The Florida House plans another raid on state affordable housing funds in its budget proposal for 2020-21.

In a plan released by the House Transportation and Tourism Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday, the House wants to shift some $240 million out of the housing programs to use in other areas of the budget.

It would leave $147 million to be spent on affordable housing programs, including $73.2 million for the State Housing Initiatives Partnership. SHIP distributes money to cities and counties to help low- and moderate-income Floridians obtain housing through new construction, down-payment assistance, home repairs, and other programs.

The House would spend another $48.8 million on a program to help build more affordable apartment units in the state. And the proposal includes $25 million for affordable housing programs in hurricane-damaged counties.

However, the House decision to use another $240 million in housing funds in other areas of the budget stands in contrast to the Florida Senate and Gov. Ron DeSantis – both support plans to fully fund the affordable-housing programs.

In his $91.4 billion budget proposal, DeSantis called for $387 million in affordable housing funding, including $267 million for the SHIP program and $120 million for the affordable apartments program.

This year’s House budget includes $200 million for the affordable housing programs, but also reflects a shift of another $125 million in housing funds to other areas of the budget.

Over the last two decades, lawmakers have swept more than $2 billion from the housing programs, which are funded by a portion of the real-estate tax on property sales, to other spending priorities. Advocates continue to call for full funding for the programs, citing Florida’s critical housing needs.