housing-florida Property values have skyrocketed, forcing many to put aside their dream of buying a home.

Years of “sweeping” money from the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund to fund other things have resulted in 94,000 foregone affordable housing units, says The Florida Housing Coalition.

Es official: Miami, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Tampa, and Jacksonville are among the top 20 US cities with the fastest climbing rent prices. And with 56.5% of renters spending 30% or more of their income on housing, Florida ranks number one in the US in housing unaffordability.

At the same time, Florida home values have spiked by up to 26.7% over the past year alone, forcing many hardworking Floridians to forgo their dream of buying a home.

“Families across the Sunshine State are being crushed by an outrageously high housing market. It’s unconscionable,” Charlie Crist, the 2022 Democratic candidate for Florida governor, said during a statewide tour to discuss affordability issues across the state.

The High Cost of ‘Sweeping’

Por esta razón, Florida Democrats have been strongly vocal in denouncing previous lawmakers and Gov. Ron DeSantis for diverting money allocated to affordable housing to the General Revenue Fund to use for other purposes. This process, called “sweeping,” diverts money from the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund, a dedicated source of revenue for affordable housing in Florida, to be used for other things.  

“[Republicans] can say that they haven’t swept, but the fact remains that it’s under-resourced,” said Rep. Fentrice Driskell. “We’re not, as a Legislature, giving people the freedom that they need to be healthy, prosperous, and safe to pursue the American dream, and to be able to have an affordable home.”

In fact, the Florida Policy Institute, an independent, nonpartisan organization that works to advance policies that improve the economic mobility for Floridians, reports that years of funding “sweeps” to the tune of more than $2 billion and have undermined the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund. This, says Florida Housing Coalition, resulted in 94,000 foregone affordable housing units by June 2021.

Crist, who is running to unseat DeSantis this year, announced that if elected, his administration will not allow politicians to slash funds and resources for working Floridians. He will also work to expand and strengthen down payment assistance programs for veterans, young families, and first-generation homeowners looking to buy a home, as well as make rents more accessible for working Floridians.

A Crisis Ignored

Democratic Rep. Ramon Alexander also called out DeSantis for ignoring the growing affordable housing crisis during his State of the State address in January.

“You would [think] in the midst of some of the most difficult challenges in our state’s future, that this would be a priority of discussion,” he said. “Not critical race theory. Not some of the boogeyman things around here that distract us from some of the key issues.”