Preserving Affordable Housing in Florida

What can be done to help preserve the 275,000 existing units of insured and subsidized housing in Florida?

The leadership of HUD, USDA, and the State Housing Finance Agency met on November 3, 2006, to discuss housing preservation issues and specific proposals being developed by the State of Florida.

[Photo: Group picture]
L to R: J. Nicholas Shelley; Ferdinand R. Juluke, Jr.; Vicki Robinson; Matthew Stewart; Elizabeth Whittaker; Gary Causey; Nancy Muller; Steve Auger

Over the past decade, home purchase prices and rental rates in Florida have out-stripped the earning power of a growing number of Floridians. At the same time, Florida's affordable housing stock is aging and numerous market rental rate rental units have been converted to condominiums. While condominium conversions have brought homeownership within the reach of some, the process has displaced many lower income families from apartments that were previously available at reasonable rents. Given these and other market conditions, a major goal of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation, through its Affordable Housing Study Commission, is to establish an effective housing preservation policy for the State of Florida.

Federal and state affordable housing programs have financed more than 275,000 units in the State of Florida over the years, but the affordability restrictions on many affordable rental units are now expiring every year at an increasing rate. With over 30% of Florida's affordable inventory now over 20 years old, damage and impact to 10% of the state's (7 million) housing units from the 2004-2005 hurricane seasons, along with condominium conversions, the need to preserve existing rental housing in Florida has never been greater.

In 2006, the Florida Affordable Housing Study Commission released its two-year study of Affordable Housing in Florida. The report emphasized the importance of preservation efforts that leverage federal project based rental assistance subsidies. Their conclusion was that public sector programs are generally not well positioned or sufficiently funded to encourage preservation and identified financial barriers as the greatest obstacles to preservation. The Commission's reports can be obtained at

As a result of these studies, the State of Florida will use 20% of the $100 million in hurricane relief funds recently provided by HUD to "harden" subsidized housing in affected areas, and is proposing a program to fund preservation of existing affordable housing using the low income housing tax credit program it administers. HUD and USDA offered assistance to the State as they work to implement these important new efforts.

Content Archived: July 11, 2011