Central Florida isn’t getting affordable housing funds under a proposed House budget

The Florida House is set to pass a spending plan that allocates $123.6 million to affordable housing programs, but none of that is going to Central Florida despite ranking as the worst place in the country for affordable housing.

The funds are being directed towards the Hurricane Michael-damaged areas in the Florida Panhandle. Now, we’re not saying the up to $5 billion in uninsured property damage in areas of the Panhandle isn’t a big deal. But the fact that the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metro area currently has only 13 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low-income renter households, according to a report form the National Low Income Housing Coalition, is just as concerning of a cause to combat at the legislative level.

State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, agreed during a House Appropriations Committee meeting last week.

"Orange County, Osceola County, Seminole County is getting crushed by the affordable housing crisis," Smith said. "Reports have ranked us as number one in the nation, in Orlando, for lack of affordable housing, and I support the money that’s going towards the victims of Hurricane Michael, but it’s a false choice to have to pick between recovery for Hurricane Michael victims and funding affordable housing."

Smith noted that negotiations with the Florida Senate over the $90 billion budget have yet to take place. The Senate’s initial budget would provide $224 million in affordable housing programs, with another $100 million going towards low-income housing for damaged Panhandle areas.

So there might be hope for a day when Orlando metro renters won’t have to earn $16.33 an hour just to afford a studio apartment and not be rent burdened.

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