What is Affordable Housing?
Affordable housing is defined in terms of the income of people living in the home. The family must be income eligible. Eligibility is defined in terms of the median income and adjusted for family size. The median income is determined by the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) by county or Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs). In general, an income eligible household is living in affordable housing when it spends no more than 30% of its income on either rent or mortgage payments.
How is financing of Affordable Housing Possible?
The financing of affordable housing is made possible through government programs such as the Low Incoming Housing Tax Credit Program (Housing Credit program by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation) and the State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program. The Affordable Housing Resource Guide outlines the major financing programs available. The Florida Housing Coalition’s website (www.flhousing.org) summarizes each program and provides contact information. Additional information may be found on the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) website (www.floridahousing.org).
Is Affordable Housing synonymous with public housing?
No. Affordable Housing is market rate housing built by the private sector with financial subsidy from government. This allows the developer to pass on savings in the form of reduced sales prices or rents.
How can I move into ownership via affordable housing?
Affordable housing built for low-income families using the multifamily revenue bond program of Local Housing Finance Authorities, such as the Florida Housing Finance Corporation’s programs which includes Housing Tax Credits and SAIL, provide programs for moving residents into homeownership. Inclusive in these programs is financial literacy, home buyer counseling, and a lease incentive which provides the family with 5% of its rental payments for down payment assistance should they wish to purchase a home in the future.
Who lives in Affordable Housing?
Affordable housing or “workforce housing” serves the needs of people employed in the jobs that we rely upon to make every community viable. In any community, this consists of teachers, teacher’s aids, nursing assistants, medical technologists, retail workers, government employees, emergency services providers, and law enforcement.
In Florida, approximately 10% of elderly households (65 years of age or older) live at or below the poverty level (American Communities Survey 2014). The Shimberg Center for Affordable Housing explains that out of the 206,869 lower income and cost-burdened renter households aged 65 and over in Florida, 66% are paying more than 50% of their income toward the costs of housing.
Children, People with Disabilities, and Those Who May Otherwise Be Homeless
There is a need in every community for affordable housing for children who are homeless and will suffer in school due to inconsistency in living situations and people with physical and/ or mental disabilities. To aid these special needs populations, nonprofit organizations throughout the state of Florida have partnered with developers of affordable housing to create “intentional communities” and co-housing.
Why include Affordable Housing in Your Community?
Affordable housing is a social responsibility and legal obligation. Every local government in Florida is required to provide housing needs for its entire community pursuant to Local Government Comprehensive Planning and land Development Regulation Act of 1985 (Chapter 163, Part II, Florida Statutes, referred to as Growth Management Act. Requirements for each plan element are set forth by the Growth Management Act.
945,687 very low-income Florida households – which include hardworking families, seniors, and people with disabilities – pay more than 50% of their incomes for housing.
Florida has the third-highest homeless population of any state in the nation, with 28,328 people living in homeless shelters and on the streets. This includes 2,472 veterans and 7,063 people in families with at least one child.
Low-wage jobs are prevalent in Florida’s economy. In many occupations, workers do not earn enough to rent a modest apartment or buy their first home.
*These statistics were obtained from The Florida Housing Coalition (www.flhousing.org). Note that these numbers only include people who are unsheltered or staying in emergency or transitional shelters. They do not include people who are doubled up or living in hotels/ motels.