Hard to believe we’re almost finished with 2020, which will undoubtedly be a year that most will never soon forget. If this year has taught us anything, it has refocused priorities, highlighted our resiliency and helped us see what is most important to us in our lives. For Habitat and those we serve, safe, decent and affordable housing has never been so critical. We will unquestionably come out of this pandemic with sharpened vision and transformed devotion to our work.
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Local Affordable Housing Advisory Committees
Required by Florida statute, every municipality who participates in the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP), must appoint a citizen lead Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC). The purpose of the advisory committee is to (at minimum) annually review local affordable housing incentives, make recommended changes and ultimately approve the municipality’s Local Housing Assistance Plan (LHAP). Such incentives may include, yet are not limited to; expedited permitting for affordable housing, development density bonuses, reduction of impact fees and reduced parking requirements. These committees play a critical role throughout the state in the advancement of affordable housing and are often the driving force for change.
Habitat is proud to announce two additional staff appointments to local Affordable Housing Advisory Committees, with CEO Mike Sutton being appointed to Pasco County’s AHAC and Sean King Director of Government Relations and Advocacy appointed to Pinellas County’s AHAC. These appointments further strengthen Habitat’s commitment to affordable housing throughout the region.
Currently, Habitat staff is represented on four of our service area Affordable Housing Advisory Committee:
Pasco County – Mike Sutton (CEO)
Pinellas County – Sean King (Dir of Govt Relations & Advocacy)
City of Clearwater – Gaby Camacho (EVP of Construction & Procurement)
City of St. Petersburg – Ken Rush (EVP of Operations)
Florida House Bill 13: State Funds
The 2021 Florida legislative session is fast approaching. Interestedly, one of the very first bills in the Florida House to be filled is HB 13, co-sponsored by Representative Sam Killebrew (R-Polk) and Representative David Silvers (D- Palm Beach). This legislation would exempt the State Housing Trust Fund and the Local Government Housing Trust Fund (also known as the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund) from a provision that allows the transfer of unappropriated cash balances into either the Budget Stabilization Fund or General Revenue Fund. In other words, this would block the State legislature from “sweeping” the Sadowski Housing Trust Fund for other purposes.
Why is this important? Since 2001 the trust fund has only been fully-funded 3 times and was last fully appropriated in 2007. During this time, almost $3 billion has been diverted into non-housing related items. Additionally, partially due to Governor DeSantis’s funding veto in early 2020, it is anticipated there may be over $600 million to be appropriated for FY 21-22.
Elected Officials Supporting Habitat
We’d like to send a special thank you to City of New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe, St. Petersburg City Councilmembers Ed Montanari & Deborah Figgs-Sanders as well as Pinellas County School Board Member Caprice Edmonds for all attending home dedications in November and welcoming the newest homeowners to the community!