Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties would like to thank Governor DeSantis for demonstrating his commitment to making homeownership affordable for hard-working, low-income families. In the Governor’s proposed budget, he calls for fully allocating the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund for its intended purpose: affordable housing. This has not happened since the recession, and we are grateful to have a leader taking bold, decisive action on the issue of affordable housing.
Though this is a fantastic start, ultimately, it’s up to our State Legislature to pass a budget that utilizes the Housing Trust Fund for critically needed affordable housing. Considering that lawmakers are extraordinarily busy in the weeks leading up to legislative session, it’s crucial that supporters of Habitat and affordable housing contact their local Representatives and Senators to encourage them to support Governor DeSantis’ call for full funding of the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund.
Throughout Southwest Florida, low-income families are struggling to make ends meet. Rent and homeownership costs are skyrocketing, and the stability that comes with a decent place to live is out of reach for too many people. Right now, in Lee County over 52,000 households are spending over 50% of their income on housing – these families are one missed paycheck or medical emergency away from homelessness (source: Florida Housing Coalition 2018 Report). The Governor’s proposed budget would go a long way in helping to address the lack of affordable housing in Florida. If the Legislature follows the Governor’s lead, Lee and Hendry Counties will receive over $9 million in funding for low-income housing programs, a $7.5 million increase from last year!
Many organizations use Sadowski funds throughout Florida for affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity uses these funds to help make mortgages affordable for new homebuyers. Additionally, the funds are used to retrofit existing housing – making it more accommodating for seniors and individuals with special needs.
Investments in affordable housing lead to many positive societal and economic impacts for local communities. Parents are able to build equity and financial independence, often ending their reliance on government programs and bolstering local economies through increased spending. Recent studies project that full funding of the Sadowski Trust will generate a $4.5 billion positive economic impact and create over 30,000 jobs in Florida (source: Sadowski Coalition)! Perhaps more importantly, children are able to live in a safe and secure environment that allows them to focus on schooling, providing a real opportunity to end generational poverty. In fact, children who grow up in a stable home that is owned by a parent(s) are 116% more likely to graduate from college (source: Habitat International, 2016)
When affordable housing is prioritized families, communities, and economies all prosper. We appreciate Governor DeSantis taking the time to learn about Florida’s housing challenges and converting education into action. We urge the State Legislature to follow the Governor’s lead and use all the housing trust funds for housing.