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State Senator Says Florida Needs More Affordable Housing

homes line a street
Hamza Jawaid - iStock
One Florida legislator said the state needs to create more housing for front-line workers.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo told attendees at an online event that the state still needs to do more in terms of affordable housing.

Last week, an industry group representing Florida realtors stopped their efforts to add a constitutional amendment on affordable housing to the 2022 ballot.

Instead, the group said it will work with state lawmakers on creating home-buying programs for frontline workers like teachers, first responders, and medical professionals.

Florida lawmakers passed a law last legislative session that stopped the long-time siphoning from the state's Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund for general use.

But the law also permanently distributed 50 percent of the trust fund for resiliency and sewer/septic costs.

The Florida Commission on the Status of Women held an online forum on affordable housing Tuesday.

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, told attendees that even though more money is now flowing into these housing programs, the state still needs to evaluate what will best serve Floridians.

"The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund was established over 30 years ago, and times have changed,” she said.

“I believe we need to reconvene the coalition of community leaders, advocates and organizations that came together 30 years ago to create the Affordable Housing Trust Fund programs. We need to take a deep dive into what has been working and what hasn't, and what our modern day workers needs are and how we can address them, particularly our frontline workers."

The legislator discussed her own experience as a working mom, and the need for access to “quality education, good healthcare and affordable housing.” She said that the government has a responsibility to make sure everyone has access to these essentials.

Passidomo — who is in line to become Senate President— said she will continue working with other lawmakers on affordable housing for frontline workers.

"If we want our state to continue to grow and thrive, then we must ensure there are promising opportunities and a good quality of life for the people of Florida,” she said. “We must ensure housing in Florida is available and affordable so that our workforce and our families have a safe place to live."

Bailey LeFever is a reporter focusing on education and health in the greater Tampa Bay region.
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