Last week, Florida held its general elections for federal, state, and local seats. Elections are essential to affordable housing because they impact policy and funding at all levels of government. The most direct way that elections influence affordable housing is through elected representatives. These officials determine how money is disbursed, what laws are passed, and how regulations are implemented. They also can decide how much to fund affordable housing programs, which can determine whether or not those programs continue to exist. At the local level, elections can also significantly impact affordable housing. For example, when elected officials make decisions about zoning laws or local development projects, they can greatly impact the availability of affordable housing options within their communities.
Out of twenty elections within our service area, we will have new representation in fifteen seats. Newly elected officials include; two new US Congressional Representatives, two new State Senators, seven new State Representatives and four new County Commissioners (2 in Pinellas & 2 in Pasco). Some of this turnover is partially due to redistricting (redrawing of district maps) and terms limits. Yet, with so many newly elected officials, we need to continue doing the work we are doing, but with an eye to foster new working relationships.
We hope our new representation in Washington considers all of the issues that are important to us as they make decisions on behalf of our community. Second, for the new faces representing us in Tallahassee, we look forward to working with them as they seek to improve our quality of life in our service area. Finally, we look forward to working with our newly elected leadership in Pasco and Pinellas Counties.
We want to take this opportunity to congratulate our new friends, colleagues, and public servants elected to represent the community throughout Pasco and Pinellas counties. We look forward to working with them to improve the quality of life for all of us in our service area.
Habitat for Humanity engages in advocacy because it’s essential to expanding the supply and preservation of affordable homes. With 1 in 6 households in Florida spending over half their income on housing—Habitat alone cannot solve the problem.