Affordable housing hits the crisis stage

A couple of weeks ago, the topic of affordable housing came up over lunch. I was appalled at what I learned. In South Florida, it’s become so bad that we are now in a crisis, leading the nation in the highest wage-to-housing discrepancy gap.

More than half of our workforce cannot afford to pay their rent, and are paying 50 percent or more of their income on housing alone. Forget about saving to buy a home. Call it the dark side of our residential boom, but I don’t think our business leaders are aware of this problem.

I want to bring to light a stark fact. Our Florida Legislature is short changing us. Affordable housing is supposed to be partially supported by the Sadowski State and Local Housing Trust Funds. When someone buys real estate in the Sunshine State, a documentary stamp tax is paid on the transaction. That portion is funneled into the Sadowski funds, which are intended for affordable housing development, but the Legislature is not allocating all of the the funds into housing programs. Instead, they are being used for general revenue purposes.

In fiscal year 2014-15, Broward County sent nearly $30.8 million in doc stamp tax to Tallahassee, and we only got a fraction of it back—$11.342 million, according to the Coordinating Council of Broward.

The Coordinating Council compiled its information from multiple sources and SFBW was not able to immediately compile numbers for the other South Florida counties. But the Miami Herald reported that since 2008, lawmakers have swept roughly $1.3 billion from the statewide collected funds of $1.87 billion and moved them into the general fund.

It is estimated that there is $292.37 million available for appropriation in the Sadowski Housing Trust Funds for fiscal 2017-18. If this money is used for Florida’s affordable housing programs, it will create 28,700 Florida jobs and $3.78 billion in positive economic impact in Florida, according to the Sadowski Coalition, comprised of 30 statewide organizations, including the Florida Realtors, Florida Home Builders Association, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Legal Services and the Florida Catholic Conference.

What does this means for employers? For one, a tough time with recruitment. Employee candidates are continuously turning down job offers to find work in cities with more affordable living options.

We’ll see more homelessness as families are only one paycheck away from financial distress. And we’ll see productivity hit a decline, as workers are overly stressed.

As the region’s business leaders, we need to step up and fight the Legislature. We need to lobby together to get our fair share. If we don’t, the repercussions are too huge.

South Florida needs affordable housing for our workforce, for the health of our economy, and most importantly, for our people.

Please join me in taking action.

Gary Press


You May Also Like

And Justice For All
July 20, 2020
Lessons learned
June 1, 2020
The era of retail-tainment
February 3, 2020
Don’t take cruise industry for granted

When you think of iconic South Florida industries, its hard not to put the cruise industry at the top of the list along with its broader family of the marine industry. According to Ship-Technology.com, PortMiami was the busiest cruise port in the world for 2017, handling 5.6 million passengers. That was followed by Port Canaveral

Innovation Central

“Innovate or die” is the mantra in today’s world of business. This issue offers an array of examples of the innovation percolating throughout the South Florida economy. But, first, let’s take a little walk down memory lane for a case study. In the mid to late 1980s, I was an assistant business editor at the

Up the River

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] To look at the history of the Miami River, is to look at the history of Miami itself. According to historian Jerald T. Milanich, the world “Miami” is a derivation from “Mayaimi,” which referred to the vast size of Lake Okeechobee. (Another interpretation is that Miami

The resilience of golf

I’ve read more than a few articles in recent years that have made me wonder about the future of golf, which is sometimes stereotyped as a game for stodgy old white guys. The story line is that the game is dying out because of changing demographics, such as kids playing video games instead of hitting

Other Posts

Boat show growth

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] The Marine Industries Association of South Florida likes to say the economic impact of the Greater Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is like having a Super Bowl each year. I might add after watching the New England Patriots play the Los Angeles Rams that it’s a

South Florida is hedge fund heaven

A few months back, I was contacted by April Klimley, a financial writer who had relocated from New York City to Delray Beach. With a background of working for major banks in New York and writing for an array of financial publications, she was rapidly scoping out the size of the financial services industry in

No Time For Complacency

It has been 10 years since Hurricane Wilma wreaked havoc on South Florida. That means there are plenty of newcomers here who haven’t been through a hurricane. Even those of us who went through Wilma may not understand the worst case scenario for a hurricane in South Florida. The closest in recent decades was Hurricane

New Generation

One of the things that comes with being a business journalist for so long in South Florida is you get to know multiple generations of family businesses. That’s the case with Jarett Levan, who is on the cover of this month’s issue. Jarett’s father, Alan, has been a familiar figure in the region’s business scene