A program that has helped 150,000 Floridians get a home that they otherwise could not afford is in danger. Gov. Jeb Bush wants to abolish the trust fund that supports low income housing.
Caressa Hannah is a third grade teacher making $26,000 a year. With two daughters, there was no way she could afford a home. Then, three years ago, the state’s affordable housing program came to her rescue.
"It made a big difference in my life because, like I said earlier, I'm a single parent of two daughters and affording housing was really hard for me on a teacher's salary," Hannah says.
The program is funded by the tax on real estate transactions. Twenty cents from every $100 spent is dedicated to affordable housing. It is helping FAMU Police Officer Antione Ford buy his first house.
"That program gives that money for closing costs for people who can't afford to close on a home. Closing costs are one of those demands of a home that pretty much we don't have the money to afford to do," says OFC Ford.
The House and Senate want to keep the trust fund. Jeb Bush does not.
There is still going to be money in the coming year’s budget for affordable housing, how much is still up in the air. Advocates worry that this could be the beginning of the end.
There are 750,000 people on the waiting list. Advocates say doing away with the trust fund jeopardizes their chances of owning a home.
Mark Wiseman of the Affordable Housing Coalition, says, "It's like asking a fisherman to get rid of his nets when he doesn't have any new nets to replace the old ones. We need to keep this system funded."
The popular program also helps seniors across the state make repairs to their homes that they could not otherwise afford on fixed incomes.
Under the plan proposed by the governor, the money now dedicated for low income housing would go into the state’s general revenue fund.