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ORRA's view on affordable housing funds appears in Orlando Sentinel

Monday, April 8, 2019  
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The following Letter to the Editor by ORRA President Jeffrey M. Fagan appeared in the April 7, 2019 edition of the Orlando Sentinel.

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Another housing raid

Yet again, the Florida Legislature is poised to raid the Affordable Housing Trust Funds.

Recently we learned that Central Florida – which ranks as worst in the nation for affordable rental housing – will receive literally no housing assistance money according to the spending plan put forth Tuesday by the Florida House. While we fully support sending housing assistance money to the Panhandle as proposed, REALTORS® believe that Central Florida’s economic development is dependant on the funding of programs that increase the availability and affordability of housing for our workforce. 

Further, we learned that the House is proposing to provide only $123 million from the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund to actual housing programs. The fund’s remaining $208 million would be diverted, yet again, to non-housing line items. In the past 10 years nearly $2 billion has been syphoned out of the trust fund.
 We strongly support the Florida Senate’s and Gov. DeSantis’ proposed spending of the full amount in the Sadowski fund on housing. We laud the Senate’s priorities and strongly encourage efforts to maintain full funding throughout the budget negotiation process.

The Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund is funded through doc stamp fees paid when a home changes ownership. REALTORS® supported the creation of this fee for the specific purpose of funding housing programs, a need that is reaching a critical point throughout the state and a crisis level here in Central Florida.
Money in the Sadowski fund — all of it —simply MUST go toward addressing our dire housing situation. It is time put the trust back in the Sadowski Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Jeffrey M. Fagan President, Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association

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