Florida Realtors Drops Affordable Housing Amendment, Seeks Legislative Solution

The Florida Realtors Association is set to drop a constitutional amendment bill aimed at protecting affordable housing funds from sweeps for other purposes, choosing instead to work with lawmakers to achieve a consensus.

Estate agents drop attempt to ask Floridians whether to prevent the legislature from plundering money intended for housing in the general liquidity reserve of the State. It comes after the legislative branch pressured the group to end the campaign, which began in June.

The organization will work with legislative leaders to find a solution, including new homeownership opportunities for frontline workers. President of real estate agents Cheryl Lambert said management is committed to working with the group to find a solution to the housing crisis.

“This crisis cannot wait,” Lambert said. “Every day we hear about workers who are being hit hard by the pandemic and who cannot afford a house. This approach will help put homeownership within the reach of Floridians much faster. “

A proposed constitutional amendment would not appear on the ballot until at least 2022, assuming the ballot initiative passed all necessary hurdles, including a sufficient number of voter signatures. On Tuesday evening, the Florida Division of Elections website showed that Floridians for Housing had collected 222,898 of the 891,589 petition signatures required in less than five months to proceed to the ballot.

The expansion of funds for affordable housing has been a political hotspot for more than a decade. This is why the Republicans under the President of the Senate Wilton simpson and Speaker of the House Chris stretches touted the deal this year, approved by the government. Ron DeSantis, To create a predictable source of funding for housing dollars as a major victory.

However, the plan came at the cost of siphoning more than half funds that had been earmarked for affordable housing since 1992, which Democrats and housing advocates have likened to a permanent sweep. The siphoned dollars will be divided between sea level rise mitigation and wastewater subsidies.

Florida Realtors created a political committee called Floridians for housing in March, and realtors and other groups provided him with more than $ 13 million to support the constitutional amendment. The amendment would have effectively overturned the legislature’s agreement and prevented future sweeps.

Sprows criticized Florida Realtors’ decision as a “selfish and special interest agenda”After Floridians For Housing launched the voting initiative. And the Republican Senator from Naples. Kathleen passidomo, who is set to be the next Senate Speaker, has been actively working to get real estate agents to drop the initiative.

In July, Passidomo told the Orlando Sentinel that it took the realtors campaign personally. The Republican of Naples, who will likely assume the presidency of the Senate after the 2022 election, said she had worked with Realtors all summer “to strengthen affordable housing opportunities in Florida.”

“We agree that affordable housing is absolutely essential for our state – for our families, for our workforce and for our economy. We need to ensure that the state’s investment in affordable housing is spent wisely and that our first responders, healthcare workers, teachers and other essential professions can benefit from the opportunities available, ”Passidomo said in a statement provided to Florida Politics. “I look forward to continuing our work with realtors, landowners, affordable housing advocates and other key stakeholders across the state towards our shared mission of providing safe, accessible and affordable places for Floridians to live. , work and raise a family. ”

Florida Realtors’ new plan is to increase homeownership opportunities while preserving rental assistance programs. CEO of real estate agents Margy grant said she was happy with the legislative leaders’ agreement to find common ground, including on a homeownership program for frontline workers.

“Frontline workers are the absolute backbone of our communities, which has become even more evident during this pandemic. They put their lives and health on the line every day for the good of those around them, but Florida does not have a home ownership program in place to ensure these heroes can live in the communities where they work, ” Grant said.

Committee meetings for the 2022 session will begin the week of September 20. The 60-day legislative session will begin on January 11.

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