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As Florida's Affordable Housing Crisis Grows Advocates Push For Full Funding Of Housing Trust Fund

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A lack of affordable housing will soon be a problem in more parts of Florida. According to a Florida Housing Coalition report, 921,928 very low-income households are spending more than half of  what they earn on housing.

Coalition President Jamie Ross says the legislature needs to stop diverting money from its Sadowski Housing Trust Fund. "We only have one message and that is that we use our voice to say 'the housing trust fund is for housing,'" Ross says.

Governor Ron DeSantis’ office estimates if affordable housing is fully-funded it could help create more than 30,000 jobs. DeSantis asked the legislature to fully fund state housing programs in his budget proposal.

Ross and the Coalition are backing a bill that would make it harder for funds belonging to the trust fund to be diverted. Sen. Debbie Mayfield. (R-Melbourne) is sponsoring the measure. She says it will prohibit lawmakers from "sweeping" money from the affordable housing trust fund into general revenue where it could be used for other purposes. Since 2000 more than $2 billion has been swept from the affordable housing trust fund.

A 2019 Florida Housing Coalition report shows that nearly 2 million Floridians struggle to pay for housing and the majority of them are severely cost-burdened, meaning their housing costs is more than 50% of their income.

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Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Florida. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formerly worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, Netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter.