Florida lawmakers trying to solve housing crisis

Contractors struggle to build houses fast enough to meet demand across Florida.
Contractors struggle to build houses fast enough to meet demand across Florida.(WCTV/ Gray Florida Capital Bureau)
Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 1:37 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV/Gray Florida Capital Bureau) - State lawmakers are trying to figure out how to help make sure there’s enough affordable housing in the state.

It’s becoming a challenge with an estimated 1,000 people moving to the state every day and it’s something the legislature is trying to tackle from many different angles.

“40 some-odd years later, and they are still talking about the lack of housing for our workforce,” Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, (R) Naples, said.

Sen. Passidomo has been working to find ways to bring more housing options to the state. She championed the Live Local Act earlier this year. It is a comprehensive strategy to bring more workforce housing to the state. The law creates several new programs including tax credits and land-use policies to help projects, such as turning empty buildings into housing.

“Those buildings can be repurposed. And it would make sense to be able to repurpose them, renovate them, restore them for housing for the person who works at the bank next door,” Sen. Passidomo said.

While the Live Local Act focuses more on developing housing to meet the needs of communities across the state, Representative Jervonte Edmonds wants to focus on the people.

“Right now we don’t have any type of solution or instrument to help residents, who are renters at least, get into a home,” Rep. Edmonds, (D) West Palm Beach, said.

That’s why he is proposing what he calls a “renters bill of rights.” There are several components to the bill lawmakers are considering next year, including limiting how often and by how much landlords can raise rent.

“We know if a resident can get into a feasible apartment that will lead to home ownership one day,” Rep. Edmonds said.

Rep. Edmonds is also proposing a state Homeowner Assistance Fund to help people pay a down payment for a home. The bill expands a federal program that expired.

The Live Local Act also set aside up to $811 million for affordable housing programs.