Legislators Focus on Affordable Housing

Several state lawmakers say working class Floridians can no longer afford to buy a home in Florida, and it’s time to take action.

A group of Republican and Democratic lawmakers pledged to make affordable housing a priority this legislative session at the Capitol Thursday.

Among other things, they’re considering lifting the cap on the amount of taxes that go into the state’s trust fund for low-income housing.

Another bill creates a Florida homeowner license plate, with funds going to affordable housing programs.

Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres is a sponsor of the bill and says, “I’m not normally a supporter of more license plates because we have about 100 in our state, but what’s a more important issue these days than affordable housing, and if there was ever a need for a specialized license plate, it’s to go to a cause like affordable housing, and I think there will be a big demand for it. I think people will want to support the cause and not to mention, it really looks good. It’s a very attractive license plate.”

Lawmakers are also looking at using surplus state land to build affordable homes, providing more down-payment assistance, and creating programs to help essential workers like teachers and firefighters buy homes.

The median price of a home in Florida has jumped 21 percent over the past year, from $205,000 in January of 2005 to $248,600 this January.